innovators | carol Dollard, Pe, leeD aP
Because the project put 2 MW onto 15 acres, there was plenty of room
for wide spacing between the tracking arrays. This made construction easier
and obviated any shading issues, but in retrospect, Dollard says, they might
have spaced the arrays closer, which would have made room for more capac-
ity at the site. As it happened, the state legislature lifted the 2-MW cap on
PV when the RPS was expanded to 20 percent (it now stands at 30 percent
by 2020), and the planning team got to work on phase two. Contractor
GES filled the corners of the triangle, roughly another 15 acres, with 3. 3
MW of the same modules on fixed frames, tilted 20 degrees. Phase two
went live in December. The Christman solar field can generate 8. 5 million
kilowatt-hours annually, enough to provide 33 percent of the Foothills
Campus’ annual energy use. The university buys that power at a fixed rate
from Fotowatio, on a 20-year contract. With traditional electric rates rising
at about 6 percent annually, Dollard says, the entire project is expected to
save the university millions.
the renewable energy credits. Contractor AMEC installed 8,697 230-watt
Trina silicon modules on single-axis trackers, driven by eight motors and
feeding four locally built Advanced Energy inverters. The system was online
by December 2009.
2010 also saw installation of a 15.75-k W PV rooftop array at the Behavioral Science Building and another 132-k W rooftop array on the Lake Street
parking garage, both by Bella Energy, and a ground-mount 57-k W system
by Encore Electric at the Research Innovation Center. Dollard would like
to put solar water-heating panels on the university’s swimming pools and
residence halls, but capital is tight now, and most renewable incentives
support direct electric power generation. With the Colorado State Forest
Service (a CSU agency), facilities installed a wood-chip biomass boiler in
2008, and the department is now investigating burning biogas out of the
Larimer County landfill. Meanwhile, the university has six LEED Gold-certified buildings and is putting up six more. — SETH MASIA
SOLAR2011_ad_STMar2011_Reg-v2:Layout 1 1/14/11 6:13 PM Page 1
Because the project put 2 MW onto 15 acres, there was plenty of room for
wide spacing between the tracking arrays.
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