A two-year project to bring solar energy to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Charleston headquarters is nearing completion. When recently installed solar panels atop the roof begin producing electricity later this summer, the DEP’s Kanawha City facility will become the first state government agency building to be partially powered by the sun.

The $291,168 pilot project, being funded federally through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also includes the rooftop installation of a solar thermal hot water system. Mountain View Solar & Wind out of Berkeley Springs was contracted to do the work.

Based on the current electricity usage at DEP headquarters, the solar electricity and solar hot water project is expected to initially offset 15 percent of the DEP’s electricity consumption each year and produce close to $4,000 in first-year savings.

“This project will increase our energy efficiency which, in turn, will reduce our energy and water consumption, as well as associated utility, operations and maintenance costs,” said Greg Adolfson, the DEP’s sustainability officer.

In addition, the project will augment and complement West Virginia’s Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard that requires investor-owned utilities with more than 30,000 residential customers to supply 25 percent of retail electric sales from eligible alternative and renewable energy resources by 2025.

The DEP’s solar photovoltaic (PV) system consists of 108 (235-watt) solar panels and covers approximately 2,730 square feet of the DEP building’s roof. The panels will produce 30,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, enough to power two average-sized homes in West Virginia.

The solar thermal hot water system includes four flat plate collectors on the roof and two 120-gallon storage tanks in the DEP’s mechanical room. The system is expected to produce enough hot water to supply the entire DEP building.

For more information about the DEP solar project, please contact Greg Adolfson at 304-926-0499, ext. 1332.

 

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