Bellevue College, with money from the SESF fund as well as a grant from Washington State Department of Commerce, has installed a solar panel array above the art wing on C-Building. The grant represented around 30% of the cost of the project.
The array produces 7KW of energy. It has been estimated that the panels will provide roughly 7-8% of the power for C-Building, including the greenhouse! This will hopefully produce around 8,000KWh every year! We are also in the process of installing energy dashboards, which will be able to track up to minute power consumption. This type of monitoring will allow us to see the energy produced by the panels as well as the power used by each building. Time will tell us exactly what the impact of the solar panels will have on our carbon footprint. The location of our campus up on the top of a bluff facing the south is an ideal place to put solar panels.
One of the biggest challenges we face in our lives is the energy crisis. We currently live in a society run by a power source that is inherently dirty and destructive: fossil fuels. Both the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels wrecks havoc on our environment. There are sources of power which are infinite and reliable, those being the star we orbit and the winds that are always flowing around our planet. The big shift will come when we start to view the potential of these energy flows and start to utilize them. Bellevue College has made a large step in that direction by installing the panels. Being able to look up at the solar panels and know that we are producing energy in a sustainable, reliable fashion is as powerful as the energy produced by the panels.