After encountering several challenges with the roof structure and therefore design of the system, Everybody Solar, with the support of numerous agencies — O’Brien Construction, Energy Design, Woodchuck Engineering, Jerry’s Home Improvement, EWEB, JinkoSolar and All Points North Foundation — is bringing a 30.2-kW solar array (in two phases, with the first phase completed this month) to the Eugene Science Center (ESC).
While the re-designs led to delays in installation, one of the benefits is that the solar array will now be side mounted to the South-facing side of the ESC’s building, allowing for the public to have more immediate contact with the system. In this first phase of the installation, the Eugene Science Center is receiving 18.9 kW of photovoltaics, which is expected to save the site approximately $1,875 in electricity annually. Once complete, the solar array will save ESC about $2,500 per year on utility costs. In addition to the solar array, the facility is also creating a new solar exhibit which will not only communicate real and historic data on the amount of solar energy the ESC’s photovoltaic array is generating, but also represent, in a simple fashion, the inner workings of a PV cell. Specifically, the exhibit will allow the user to ‘see’ how photons from sunlight interact with electrons within the solar panel to produce sustainable energy.
“We hope that reducing ESCs energy costs will enable them to keep that money focused on community programming that not only benefits their visitors onsite, but also engages them in the conversation of the value and importance of renewable energy in our modern world”, said Myriam Scally, director of operations and development at Everybody Solar.
The Eugene Science Center currently receives about 35,000 visitors. In the coming years, with the implementation of new exhibits and the solar array, the site hopes to grow to 60,000 visitors.
Tim Scott, executive director of the Eugene Science Center said, “We’re thrilled to finally bring solar energy to Eugene Science Center and are eager to engage our community in the many benefits of this and other sustainable energy resources. Not only does this installation make us more sustainable, but it allows us to provide more educational programming to our community thanks to the annual utility savings the array provides.”
Having strong partnerships are key to succeeding in bringing solar to nonprofits. Everybody Solar and the Eugene Science Center worked diligently to finalize the project in partnership with local agencies, donors, foundations, and installers.
“As a nation we are realizing the potential of solar technology and other renewable energy sources,” says Laura Staich, executive director, All Points North Foundation. “We view funding projects like the Eugene Science Center as an opportunity to deploy solar while engaging youth in solar education and providing electricity savings.”
“We were excited to learn that the Eugene Science Center will enjoy the cost saving benefits of solar, while simultaneously educating the community about how the system works. It’s not every day that an installation comes full circle,” said Nigel Cockroft, general manager of JinkoSolar (U.S.). “We’ve always been a proud supporter of Everybody Solar, and this project is a great example of their unique contribution to the industry.”
Vince McClelan, president at Energy Design had the following to say about the project: “As a business sometimes we are given opportunities that are worth following through to their final outcome. Eugene Science Center has been that kind of an opportunity. After the fourth design iteration, we finally found a design that would work for the building and Eugene Science Centers budget. The Eugene Science Centers director, Tim Scott, was a joy to work with. Without his unfailable perseverance and positive attitude in the face of adversity I’m sure the Eugene Science Center would not have a solar array to power their building today.”
News item from Everybody Solar