Eastern Mennonite University

In November, 2010 Secure Futures completed a solar power generation system on the campus of Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

The EMU solar project was the first commercial-scale project in Virginia history, and at the time it went live, was the largest photovoltaic (PV) system of any kind in Virginia. The system incorporates high-efficiency solar panels made in the United States by SunPower, based in California.

A press release on the project may be found here.

SFLLC, through a project company of local investor, Community Solar, LLC, purchased and owns the solar panels on the EMU campus. EMU hosts the solar facility, and buys electricity generated from the panels at a predetermined price through a power purchase agreement. Using economic stimulus funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, DMME awarded an incentive grant for the project. ARRA funds through the US Treasury 1603 Investment Tax Credit grant will also help finance this project. Community Bank in Staunton, VA provided construction financing for this project.

The high-efficiency photovoltaic panels were manufactured by SunPower, and were installed by Southern Energy Management, based in North Carolina. SEM provided project engineering services and on-going maintenance and real-time monitoring of the system.

The panels were installed throughout Fall 2010.
During peak sunshine conditions, the system generates 104 kW of power. This provides as much as 2% of EMU’s peak power consumption. See how much solar energy EMU’s system is generating today at the EMU Online Solar Dashboard.

EMU Dashboard

Want to know how much solar power EMU is getting today? Click the image to check out their Online Solar Dashboard.

The solar panels are installed on the roof of Hartzler Library and are not visible from ground level, but they can be seen from the balcony of a neighboring building, the EMU Campus Center, or in photos available at EMU’s Solar Website.

EMU recently installed Solar Domestic hot water collectors on a new dormitory. This project is the latest in a long history of commitments to energy conservation that grows out of the university’s theological commitment to care for creation. There is a growing awareness and integration of sustainability into curriculum and daily life around the campus.
Projected Annual Pollution Savings 104 kW PV Deployment
1,820 lbs SO2- Sulphur Dioxide – Associated with visible pollution (haze) and acid rain.
3,240 lbs NOx – Oxides of Nitrogen – One of the main causes of ozone (smog), also associated with acid rain.
20 lbs PM10 – Particulate matter smaller than 10 microns – associated with lung ailments.
340,800 lbs CO2 – Carbon Dioxide is a normal atmospheric component. However, increased levels are likely to cause future climate changes.
30 lbs VOC’s – Volatile Organic Compounds – One of the primary causes of ozone (smog), also some of the individual compounds are toxic.
120,000 gallons Cooling Water Consumption – Because power plants are typically only about 36 percent efficient, they throw off an enormous amount of waste heat.

Jesse ReistEastern Mennonite University