Ohio College Goes Solar Power Big Time

Solar energy: all the cool schools are doing it. Soon,  the College of Wooster will be the coolest of them all with a massive 20,000 square foot solar roof slated for the the Scot Center, a new student recreation and athletic facility currently  under construction on Wooster’s campus in Ohio. When completed, the solar rooftop installation, which will generate up to 271,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year,  is expected to be the largest on any college facility in the country.

Carbon Vision of Shaker Heights will install and retain ownership of the the solar installation, and lease it to the college, which has signed a power-purchase agreement for a period of 12.5 years. In order to defray costs associated with getting the system up and running, the company plans to apply for federal and state grants and federal tax credits, as well as sell the renewable energy credits associated with it during the term of the lease. At the end of that term, the College of Wooster will get the title to the solar installation, which has a life of up to 40 years.

College of Wooster

image via College of Wooster

The 123,000 square foot Scot Center, which opens in January of 2012, will be home to four intramural courts for basketball, tennis and volleyball; an NCAA regulation 200 meter running track, a fitness center, locker rooms, athletic department offices, and meeting rooms. The Center’s solar installation is expected to provide enough electricity, year round, to power one of Wooster’s student residence halls.

“For the last three years we have been getting progressively better organized, more ambitious, and more serious about modeling sustainability practices that the larger society might adopt,” said Grant Cornwell, Wooster’s president, in a statement. “Today we take a dramatic and exciting step forward on that road.”

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

    • I’m pretty sure that you meant that the 20,000 SF roof produces 271,000 kW hours per year. Even with a relatively high efficiency solar PV panel like the Kyocera KD210GX-LPU the best you can hope for is about 11.5 watts per SF. 20,000 SF works out to a 230,000 watt installation (or 230 kW). A 230 kW installation in Ohio will probably produce right around 271,000 kWh. This is a nice size unit but far from the largest at a college facility in the nation.

      You’re way off.