DENVER (CBS4) – After years of student surveys and requests, the Auraria Campus in Downtown Denver has installed the largest singular rooftop solar array in the downtown area. More than 2,100 solar panels were installed atop the Auraria Library in a project that took more than a year to complete.
“It is going to generate just over a million kilowatt hours annually,” said Chris Herr, sustainability Officer for the Auraria Campus. “We actually did a survey to find out what is important to (students.) Other than recycling and composting, recyclable energy on site was No. 2 to that.”
The campus teamed up with Namaste Solar out of Boulder to complete the $1 million project. The solar panels will power the library for two thirds of the year.
“That is going to reduce our campus usage by about 2.5%, which is really exciting,” Herr said. “It’s been student-driven for a long time. So, I am happy that we were finally able to do this array.”
Jackie Slocomb of the Auraria Sustainable Campus Program said the library was a logistically smart location to install the project on campus.
“The solar panels allow us to capture energy from the sun. Which, here in Colorado, shines very often,” Slocomb said.
While the project funding was available before the project installation, the panels will take nearly 15 years to pay themselves off. However, Herr said the panels will still generate revenue for the campus while saving the environment.
“The life of this project should be around 30 (years.) So, for half of the project, we are going to be generating some additional revenue for the program,” Herr said.