Caltech Completes Parking Structure Solar Array

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) recently became the latest of several higher education institutions to deploy a solar array in a campus parking structure. The newly completed system is expected to produce about 320,000 kilowatt hours in its first year of operation with the aim of improving sustainability in research projects, according to Caltech.

Completion of the project was announced just last week. The system, which is housed on the top floor of a Caltech parking stucture, was designed and installed by Suntech Energy Solutions, which said the 238 kWp array utilized "an innovative space frame that accommodated more modules to maximize solar energy production. This also resulted in more shading for cars on the top deck of the parking structure where the array is located."

"The use of the innovative space frame structure to mount the modules allowed us to maximize both electricity production and coverage of the top parking deck for Caltech," said Mack MacReady, Suntech Energy Solutions' senior project manager, in a prepared statement. "This solar array will provide the optimal production in terms of both energy produced and at the best economic return."

"We appreciate Suntech Energy Solution's help and assistance in achieving this milestone," said Jim Cowell, Associate vice president for facilities at Caltech, in a statement released last week. "This facility will allow us to reduce our dependence on nonrenewable sources of energy and allow Caltech to conduct research in a more sustainable way."

The installation is the largest in Pasadena, CA. The city s providing a rebate program through the Pasadena Solar Initiative under the California Solar Initiative.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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