When Lane Community College’s downtown campus is completed sometime next year, it will include a unique solar power system on its roof, thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Eugene Water & Electric Board.
The 12-kilowatt system will include four different kinds of panels in a design that will provide an educational opportunity for students, LCC President Mary Spilde said.
The four types of panels will let students monitor energy production while learning about the maintenance and installation of the different systems, Spilde said.
“It’s creating a living lab for our students so they’ll have a real working knowledge,” she said.
LCC has earned national recognition for the caliber of its energy management training programs.
The solar panels also may help the college achieve platinum energy efficiency standards for its new building. While the project has enough points to get the platinum rating without the solar panels, the panels will give the college a cushion if some of the other elements fall short, Spilde said.
“We’re just really happy that the Greenpower users voted to support this project,” Spilde said, noting that is the second such grant LCC has received from EWEB. The first helped pay to install solar panels at a parking lot fitted out with electric charging stations for cars running on batteries.
The new solar panels will go on the roof of the 90,000-square-foot academic building. The LCC project also will include an 87,000-square-foot student apartment building.
EWEB offers the grants to schools and nonprofit groups as a way of encouraging local renewable energy production. The money comes from the extra that some utility customers opt to pay to support EWEB’s renewable power sources, such as wind power.
Greenpower can be purchased in $1.50 or $10 increments or customers can pay an extra penny per kilowatt hour to support renewable power.
Greenpower customers — about 3,500 — selected the grant winner by vote from a list of finalists that included St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, the University of Oregon Solar Energy Center, Renewable Energy Development International, Full Access, and Early Childhood Cares.