“World class innovation”: Solar panels at BC

solarpanelsBellevue College has made a new environmental feat: the installation of a solar panel array above the art wind of the C building towards the end of January. Deric Gruen, sustainability director at BC, described the solar panel project as on that is “a small, but important step in shifting BC’s energy needs to renewables; and complements existing, less visible ground source heat that fuels the R building and soon the T building.”

These panels alone may produce an estimated 7-8% of the C building and green house’s electricity, as published by Alex Clark, the communications coordinator for the office of sustainability, on BC’s office of sustainability site.

The cost of the solar panel project was covered largely by the Student Environmental Sustainability Fund, as well as a grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce. Roger Weed, director of the Department of Commerce, describes the mission of the Commerce as on seeking to sustain “world-class innovation economy on a foundation of strong communities,” which is precisely the direction BC is gearing towards.

These solar panels are a step in the right direction that allow the BC electricity meters to revolve backwards and begin to produce or gather energy that will be consumed regardless.

Along with the solar panels, the office of sustainability is also in the process of instating energy dashboards. The dashboards will track and display up-to-minute power consumption within the facilities, which will divulge how much energy the panels are procuring, as well as how much energy the rest of the building and school are consuming.

Every day, the average person commutes, cooks, makes phone calls, uses lights and so many other things. These modern technologies allow people to do such great things, but the energy they often run on is far from healthy, often fossil fuels.

Imagine knowing that the energy used to power everyday devices came from the seemingly eternally burning sun 92,960,000 miles from this planet called home.

The new solar panels will be a daily “visual reminder to students, faculty and staff to reflect on where our energy comes from” and the project as a whole will become a “learning tool… for use in class projects” of the future, explained Gruen.

As time goes on, students and faculty will be able to gauge the beneficial impact of these solar panels. For now, they can simply know they are doing something to ease the strain on our environment, as well as step away from fossil fuel usage all while saving some of the school’s money.