Here comes the sun: Solar panels atop MCC buildings save energy, money

Solar

Metropolitan Community College is partnering with  KCP&L Solar Inc. to install solar panels on 18 MCC buildings. The project provides a renewable power source that will have a positive impact on the environment and will save the College nearly $370,000 in future estimated utility costs. The Board of Trustees approved the energy saving projects earlier this year.

The advanced solar technology is fully funded by rebates being offered through the KCP&L Solar Power Rebate Program which encourages the use of solar equipment to generate an alternative energy system while also reducing the demand on the power grid regionally.

Experts explain renewable energy is a vital component to future energy sources. The most popular type of solar power is photovoltaic (PV) cells in panels, strips or blocks. The cells turn the sun’s radiation into an electrical signal, which is converted for utility uses in buildings and homes.  With the use of solar technology, organizations can rely on solar power to supply a percentage of electricity.

The solar arrays will be installed on MCC building rooftops and each location will produce approximately 34,000kWh of electricity per year, per site.  This will be converted into electricity which will be used to feed power back to the buildings.  The solar energy generated will result in direct electricity utility cost savings for MCC.

As part of KCP&L Solar Power Rebate Program, the rebates are only offered in parts of the metropolitan area.  MCC wanted to take advantage of the electricity and cost saving potentials and agreed to install solar technology on buildings that are eligible for the rebates. The solar equipment will be implemented on three of MCC’s campuses.  The project includes; three building located on the MCC- Penn Valley Campus, three buildings on the MCC-Business & Technology Campus, ten buildings on the MCC-Maple Woods Campus and one facilities building.

MCC’s Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services, Shelley Temple-Kneuvean, explained, “There is no out of pocket cost for MCC. The initial installation is funded from KCP&L’s Solar Rebate Program.  Over the next 20 years, we are guaranteed to save at least $367,611 in future utility costs. We can save, while contributing to the region’s renewable energy solution benefitting the entire area. Now, that is exciting.”

The project will be governed by a 20-year Solar Services Agreement between MCC & KCP&L Solar Inc. KCP&L Solar will own and maintain the system for the term of the agreement.  MCC and its students will be able to monitor energy generation in real time once the systems are installed.  Panel installation will begin this month, and the system will be fully operational by late fall. All of the installations are slated to be completed by the end of August. MCC’s facilities personnel have been involved in site inspections.