Rooftop Solar Puts Cap On Green Building

You may have caught our recent post on Okanagan College’s ultra-green building, its Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation. In addition to its recognition as a contender for the Living Buildings Challenge – widely considered to be the most stringent green building standard in the world – the building has now garnered the distinction of being home to the largest solar photovoltaic system in Western Canada.

This 260-kilowatt solar power system was developed by SkyFire Energy using 1,106 Conergy P solar modules. This roof-mounted system is a key component of the college’s plan for the new Centre of Excellence to pull its own weight, as far as electricity goes, achieving that coveted net zero status.

rooftop solar, Okanagan College

image via Okanagan College

Of course, during the Okanagan Valley’s dark winter months, the building will have to pull juice from the grid, but college planners project that this energy will be offset by an excess of electricity generated by the system during the sunny summer months. The system will also be used as a teaching tool, operating as an integrated element of the college’s trades and technology classes.

Okanagan College Centre of Excellence

image via Okanagan College

With classes now back in session, Okanagan College reports that students have reacted positively to the recently connected solar power system. “When you sit down and realize that the power for the projectors and computers is coming from the sun, and that at times the building will produce more energy than it will use, you appreciate how we can use technology and innovation to address problems,” said student Cory Nelmes.

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.