According to Steve McAllister, vice president for finance and treasurer at Washington and Lee, this arrangement enabled the project to leverage federal and state tax incentives, and reduced the up-front cost of the system. The project also benefited from the city of Lexington’s 20-year tax exemption for solar energy equipment, and a grant awarded by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, using funds from the 2009 merican Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“Not only does this project make environmental sense, but the federal and state incentives that Secure Futures was able to obtain also made it an economically viable project for the university,” McAllister said.
Data from the system can be accessed in real time through a Web-based dashboard, which displays graphs showing the power production, ambient and cell temperatures, and the environmental benefits of both arrays.
“The dashboard is another important component of the project,” said Beebe. “Having this as part of our overall energy dashboard will allow anyone from on or off campus to see how much energy is being produced and consumed. It will not only help technicians and be a boon for anyone doing research on these projects, but it’s also another important way of showing our commitment to sustainability.”