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Public Relations
Posted: Tuesday Mar 13, 2012

January 6, 2012

Solar panels on the roof of the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion are helping to demonstrate the feasibility of using renewable energy sources in a building with high energy demands and providing an educational demonstration online for anyone interested in the photovoltaic system’s productivity and environmental impact.

The system can be viewed on the web at www.sunnyportal.com, a site which lists hundreds of solar plants. Saint Vincent is identified as the Sis and Herman Dupré Pavilion Plant. The web page provides a plant overview, energy and power charts, specific yield and photos of the Pavilion.

“While the energy produced is impressive – about 15,000 kilowatt hours during the first six months of operation – the savings represent only a small percentage of the building’s electric consumption,” noted Larry Hendrick, director of facility management at Saint Vincent. “However, that still translates into more than 23,000 pounds of carbon dioxide that was not released into the environment.”

The system’s production is charted hour-by-hour, seven days a week. As expected, the panels are most productive during the mid-day period between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The Saint Vincent solar plant is a 22.2KW system comprised of one hundred eleven 200 watt panels. The panels are installed on the south-facing sloped roof and generate an estimated 33,000 KWH annually. By supplying clean, renewable energy to the building, the system helps reduce the carbon footprint of the Science Pavilion and serves as a model for adaptation and replication at other colleges and universities, businesses, and organizations and promotes the use of clean energy technologies and the viability of sustainable energy sources.

The Saint Vincent College photovoltaic system was manufactured by Solar Power Industries, Inc., a Westmoreland County-based firm that manufactures solar cells and related products.

The project was designed with sensitivity to the environment as a primary objective. The Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion is a green building that expects to receive a Gold rating under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. The project incorporates sustainable design technologies including the use of renewable energy sources, energy performance optimization strategies, a reduction in storm water and sanitary discharges, the use of recycled and regional construction materials, indoor chemical and pollutant control, and extensive commissioning to ensure proper operation of all building systems.

The West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund helped to support the acquisition and installation of the solar photovoltaic system.

The building is heated and cooled with a geothermal system that depends on 283 wells with an average depth of 235 feet that are located behind the Pavilion.