Solar Array Challenge is Underway at NIACC – Combine 107.three KIOW

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From left to right: State Representative Sharon Steckman, Bill Schickel (Mayor, Mason City), Steve Schulz (NIACC President), Dave Steffens Jr. (NIACC Board Member & Daveco Industries) Chad Schreck (President & CIO, North Iowa Corridor), State Senator Amanda Ragan, Aaron Burnett (City Administrator, Mason City), Tony Pappas (NIACC Director of Facility Management)

North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) broke ground on Wednesday to celebrate the construction of one of the largest solar panels at a community college in the country.

State and local officials, members of the NIACC Board of Trustees, and other people close to the project gathered to ceremonially lay the foundation stone for the project in front of one of the arrays on the east side of the campus. This project is a collaboration between the college and a private investor using solar tax credits to build the original infrastructure. The college will buy the solar systems from the investor in five years. The savings estimates for the NIACC Solar project are approximately $ 392,200 annually, or 58% of current campus usage.

The new solar panels will be located in a number of areas across campus. The five base fields are located near the Campus View dormitory, southwest of McAllister Hall, west of the building, east of the reception center, and on Campus Farm. The four arrays on the roof are in the administration building, in the activity center, in the auditorium and on the campus farm.

“This new solar system will change the college in many ways,” said Steve Schulz, NIACC president. “Visually, the four large floor panels are clearly visible from several points on the campus, but the energy savings for the campus will also be considerable. This project is a socially responsible investment and underscores the college’s continuing commitment to sustainability and our contribution to protecting the environment. “

The NIACC project will use 5,800 BiFacial modules. Conventional solar modules (panels) only capture the light on one side, the front part of the panel, and the light that cannot be captured is simply reflected away. However, BiFacial modules have solar cells on both sides so that the panels can absorb light from both the rear of the module and the front. NIACC’s floor and roof arrangements produce more energy throughout the day due to the reflection on the back of the modules as well as from snow-covered floor and white roof surfaces. BiFacial Module Yield up to 11 percent more energy than conventional solar modules in a floor-mounted installation and a yield of up to 7 percent more energy in a roof installation.

“NIACC has a long history of buying and using energy as efficiently, cheaply and environmentally consciously as possible,” said Tony Pappas, NIACC facility director. “This solar project is another example of our commitment to energy saving and environmental protection. Reducing our utility costs through the use of solar energy will provide direct financial support to all other university operations and complement academic programs and community events for many years to come. “

This project will reduce campus energy costs by approximately $ 10.7 million over the next 25 years.

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