UTEP puts El Paso’s largest solar PV arrays to work

Veronique Masterson

University of Texas at El Paso

The University of Texas at El Paso has erected the largest commercial solar photovoltaic arrays in El Paso on its campus to lower its demand for electricity and shrink its carbon footprint.

The two PV arrays, which were installed in early December, are on top of the University’s Student Recreation Center (formerly called the Swimming and Fitness Center) and in a parking lot next to its Facilities Services building on the north end of campus. They will produce more than 308,206 kilowatt-hours annually – about as much energy as 53 average residential homes would use.

The project was paid for through a $1 million grant from the Distributed Renewable Energy Technology Program of Texas’ State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) and with a 20 percent cost share by UTEP.

The UTEP award is a result of a joint effort and proposal between UTEP’s Center for Environmental Resource Management (CERM), Environmental Health & Safety, Facilities Services and El Paso Electric.

The purpose of the SECO program is to increase the amount of installed renewable energy in Texas, further develop Texas’ renewable energy potential, assist in meeting the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard target of 10,000 megawatts by 2025, and advance the market for renewable technologies.

The two solar PV systems were designed by SunPower, a U.S.-based manufacturer and internationally renowned company of leading edge solar PV products. The rooftop PV system features state-of-the-art modules designed for commercial flat roof applications, and both PV systems include solar panels that produce the highest energy yield in their class.

The local contractor team was made up of McCormick Architecture/McArch Construction, Border Solar, Bath Engineering, Ponce Engineering, El Paso Machine & Steel, Conde Inc., and Southwest Roofing, with an assist from UTEP’s Facilities Services and CERM teams.

The University plans to pursue funds for additional renewable energy systems on campus to reduce its overall electricity bill and incrementally reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation sources in the El Paso region.

For further information on the SECO program, please visit the CERM web site and the SECO web site for the Distributed Renewable Energy Technology Program.



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