CU Boulder building multi-million dollar solar panel installation.

By Oliver Townsend Jun 25, 2024
CU Boulder to construct $7.8 million solar panel system.jpegOrginal image from:

Clean, renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly important in today’s world, and the University of Colorado Boulder is taking a step in the right direction with its plans to construct a $7.8 million solar panel system. This ground-based solar panel system, funded from campus cash reserves, is set to be built on a two-acre site on the East campus, with construction scheduled to begin in June 2025 and expected to be operational by January 2026. The system aims to generate approximately 1.4 million kilowatt hours (kWhs) annually, offsetting 1.3% of the CU Boulder campus’ total electricity usage.

The Transition to Renewable Energy

The University of Colorado Boulder’s solar panel system project is part of its commitment to transitioning to renewable energy sources. The system is designed to support CU Boulder in reducing its carbon footprint and moving towards a more sustainable future. With the approval of the solar panel project by the University of Colorado Board of Regents, CU Boulder is also initiating 18 building efficiency projects this fall, costing an estimated $5.8 million in campus cash reserves.

Building Efficiency Projects

These building efficiency projects involve upgrades and improvements to 18 buildings on the main campus, totaling 16% of the campus buildings. The enhancements include replacing failed steam traps, installing low-use water filters, upgrading lighting to LED, optimizing building controls, and transitioning to a new control platform. These upgrades are not only expected to save the university money on utility and operational costs but also reduce carbon dioxide emissions and address deferred maintenance issues.

Impact and Benefits

The building efficiency project is anticipated to have a return on investment over 15 years and contribute to reducing CU Boulder’s annual energy consumption. Upon completion in the fall of 2025, buildings such as Norlin Library, Fiske Planetarium, the Visual Arts Complex, and others will be improved. These projects align with CU Boulder’s Climate Action Plan, which aims to cut campus emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve complete decarbonization by 2050.

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