Susty Tour: The MAAC’s Solar Array

I posted previously about RecycleMania has Begun! in an effort to win a nation-wide recycling contest. Being a student on the Sustainability Advisory Committee, several other students and I had to present at the Emerging Leaders on Campus conference, our presentation being about Leaving & Sustaining a Legacy on Mount Union’s Campus. Through serving on this committee I have found out about many of the initiatives on campus, moving us in a green direction.

I plan to do several posts highlighting sustainability at Mount Union, the “Susty Tour” if you will. For instance, the huge solar array on the roof of the MAAC.

A total of 230 feet of the Peterson Field House roof is covered by the solar panels, which are manufactured by Uni-Solar in Detroit and are being installed by Commercial Siding and Maintenance of Painesville. However, passers-by may not even recognize the new roof as being covered in solar panels. Each panel measures 18 feet long and 15.5 inches wide. A panel is less than an eighth of an inch thick and is fastened to the metal roof with an adhesive.

Each of the panels will produce 136 watts. Overall, they will make up a 54-kilowatt system and will produce enough energy to power seven average-sized houses for one year, according to Jason Watts of Sheffield Metals, which is the supplier of the roofing materials and solar panels.

This solar array is currently generating enough electricity to power several average size homes, and is the largest single solar array in the state of Ohio. The solar panel system is also generating most of the energy that powers the fitness center, which includes 16 flat panel televisions, 16 treadmills and 14 ellipticals. The panels will also produce energy from dawn to dusk and are still over 80% efficient with as much as 2 inches of snow covering them. A great feature for snowy Ohio!

Here is an Installation Summary and some technical details provided by AASHE (the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education):

  • Installed in 2010 at University of Mount Union in Alliance, OH
  • Estimated Annual Utility Savings: 5400
  • Capacity: 58 kilowatts
  • Annual Production: 63,000 kWh
  • Installation Type: Roof top mount
  • PV Panel Type (8) Uni-Solar PVL-136 136-watt thin-film amorphous silicon PV laminate (6.3% peak efficiency)
  • Inverter Type (8) Sunny Boy 7000US inverters.

Additional Notes:
The project is part of the $17.5 million renovation to the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex (MAAC). It was made possible through an anonymous investor and grants which are available due to the initiative to have 25% of the state’s power be generated through renewable energy sources by 2025.

Thanks to AASHE and Mount Union for the resources.

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