RISE Board approves solar panels for new power plant

David Spindler / Sun Star

The Review of Infrastructure, Sustainability, and Energy (RISE) Board, which is responsible for the distribution of the money collected through the $20 sustainability fee, approved a $250,000 allocation from the sustainability fund to pay for new solar panels for the UAF power plant at their Oct. 6 meeting.

“I think it’s a really good demonstration of what the sustainability fee can do, Ian Johnson, board chair of the committee and Wildlife Biology student, said.  “It’s a chance for the RISE Board Committee to step up and take charge.”

The solar panel project is meant to offset the cost of energy being produced at the UAF power plant.

“If we had not funded this project, there basically would be no infrastructure for solar panels,” Johnson said.

The Sustainability office approached Matthew Titus, the Facilities Electric Engineer for the Division of Design and Construction and the rest of DDC to find out how they can collaborate to get sustainability projects like the solar panels for the UAF power plant done.

“Its always cheaper to put in solar if possible otherwise you would have to retrofit the building, and with the exception of the university power plant we can do just that,” Titus said.

The RISE Board was scheduled to meet this week in order to hear Titus’ rough draft of the solar panel design.

Panels will not be angled upward, as one expects, because in Fairbanks, panels generally receive the most light in March.  This is because the light is reflected up off of the snow, according to Titus.  If the panels were facing up, they would collect more light in the summer, but less over the winter, and the panels cannot be moved once they are installed.

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