GRANITE CITY — A $500,000 grant from the U.S. Steel and American Bottom Conservancy trust fund will enable Southwestern Illinois College to install an array of solar panels at its Sam Wolf Granite City Campus to reduce the college’s carbon footprint and provide an educational resource for students and the community.
“This is a very exciting opportunity to maintain our longstanding commitment to sustainability,” SWIC President Georgia Costello said. “The installation of solar panels is another chance to educate our students and the community about the benefits of renewable energy.”
The proposed installation will include:
• A large main photovoltaic array generating approximately 154 kilowatts to be built on 2 acres to the east of the main building.
• A smaller set of instructional photovoltaic arrays with multiple types of panels, sun trackers, microinverters and other technologies generating approximately 30kW to be built adjacent to the larger array.
• A system to integrate the photovoltaic arrays and display both solar power production and campus power consumption available on campus and online.
• Two small solar thermal arrays for instructional purposes to be installed on the roof of the Industrial Technology Center.
SWIC students in the industrial electricity/electronics and heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration programs will train directly on the installation, learning how to install and maintain solar energy technologies. The goal is to increase the pool of qualified solar technicians in the field and to raise awareness of renewable energy, Dean of Technical Education Brad Sparks said.
SWIC is one of the founding members of the Illinois Green Economy Network. The college’s long-term commitment to promoting green energy includes: construction of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold-certified Liberal Arts Complex and installation of 237kW of solar power panels at the Belleville Campus; retrofitting the Granite City campus to achieve 185kW in annual energy savings; and installation of six electric vehicle charging stations on campus parking lots.
For information on the solar panels, call the Industrial Technology Center at (618) 931-0600, ext. 7475.