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September 12th, 2009

New solar panels power work at the Mountain Research Station

Steve Seibold and Kathy Clegg have led an effort to install multiple solar panel arrays at INSTAAR's Mountain Research Station (MRS). The pair recently helped secure $75,000 of support through a successful proposal to the CU-Boulder Student Union (UCSU), submitted by the CU-Boulder Biology Club. The award leverages energy incentives already in place in Colorado and is expected to fund 20 kilowatts of energy creation--about 30 percent of the station's total electricity load.

The first phase of installation is underway. Panels equivalent to 10 killowatts of power are being attached to the roof of the Marr Alpine Laboratory on the MRS campus, which is located about 15 miles northwest of Boulder at 9,500 ft (2895 m). The Marr Lab supports many studies of global warming and climate change. Its new array will not only help power regular activities, but will also provide invaluable backup power when extreme winds and snow disrupt power delivered by cable. The second phase of installation will be a ground-mounted array at the C1 research site.

As part of the funding agreement, savings in electric bills will help fund new student scholarships for classes at the Station. The new panels will not only save money and cut carbon emissions, but help put the Mountain Research Station on track to become CU's first net-zero "campus."