We are delighted to report that Cedar Hall (DBB ’16 student project) is now equipped with 8 solar PV (photovoltaic) panels on the roof! Cedar Hall was originally designed as a community space, a learning center, a gathering or meeting place, and working space for DBB students every spring. The spiral staircase leads to an observation deck on the roof, from where the solar panels are visible and model a sustainable technology in the Bluff community.
We couldn’t have done it without funds generously granted from the University of Utah Sustainability Office, and installation support from GRID Alternatives. The panels and associated costs were paid for with a SCIF grant from the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund (University of Utah Sustainability Office). Three of us DBB ’17 students oversaw the grant proposal, calling on GRID Alternatives to help with an installation workshop, bringing in interested community members to learn more about solar PV systems and gain hands-on installation experience. GRID Alternatives is a non-profit organization that works with community members and volunteers to create an educational environment while on the job site, teaching people about the benefits of solar power and how it works.
We have a monitor on the interior of the building, tracking how much energy we are producing, how much we are using, and if there is a problem with one of the panels or micro inverters. We will continue to monitor the energy production of the panels and will be able to give feedback to GRID Alternatives as well as the University of Utah Sustainability Office on cost savings, and about how to more effectively install and use solar PV in future builds. It’s also a great way for DBB students and Bluff community members to gain first hand experience monitoring energy usage and maintaining solar technology. We are extremely grateful to have had the GRID team helping us out, and to have had so many engaged volunteers!
Julia Warner, Matthew Cranney, and Eric Blyth