Solar a new addition to ways WIT is becoming greener and reducing its electricity demands with the help of the SEAI’s Better Energy Communities Grant
The installation of 160 PV solar panels on the roof of the School of Business Building at WIT last weekend is one of a number of energy efficiency initiatives taking place at WIT.
The panels were installed in a week that included a visit to WIT by Minister Alex White TD, and a successful Green Campus Day which aimed to raise energy efficiency awareness on campus.
According to Elaine Greenan, Estates Manager at WIT the installation is part of WIT’s continuous effort to reduce our energy usage, our impact on the environment.
“It is one of the stepping stones to achieving accreditation to the International Management System Standard ISO 50001 under the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) Public Sector Support Programme. With the assistance of the SEAI through the Better Energy Communities Grant WIT will now reduce its demand on existing fossil fuel power.”
WIT leads in sustainable energy
This is due for completion in June 2016 and WIT will be the first institute of technology to achieve this standard in Ireland, she added.
“With this system in place and the roll out of our energy champions over the next year we are confident as a community of staff and students that we will hit our 2020 energy obligations of a 33% reduction in energy consumption. We are already at 22.9% so with the continued supports of our energy partners SEAI and the OPW Energy Awareness Campaign we look forward to a more efficient, comfortable and happier WIT”.
Top 14% for energy awareness
According to the Public Service Monitoring and Reporting statement for 2014 WIT is currently ranked 160th out of 1,112 public bodies for energy awareness. Other energy saving initiatives include LED lights in the car parks and the main auditorium.
At peak usage, the solar PV installation will produce 40 Kilowatts of electricity. It is expected it will provide a significant amount of the WIT Business School’s electricity needs. The PV system will tie directly into the WIT electricity distribution network and will be linked to the building management system.
Tom O'Brien, Chair of the WIT Energy Advisory Group (WEAG) explained “all the upgrades undertaken this year have built-in links to the WIT Building Energy Management system and extensive sub metering is being installed with the assistance of the Office of Public Works (OPW).”
This will allow the energy data for the main areas of the WIT campus to be displayed locally at the areas consuming the energy. “It will help our energy champions to access their own data and provide feedback on energy usage,” he said.
There will be a direct academic benefit too, as the installation will be used for course curriculum purposes within the School of Engineering.
“The data will also be available in the classroom environment for students to learn from, particularly those in the Building Services and Sustainable Energy engineering courses where the students complete modules in building energy management and energy design,” he added.
The rooftop installation comprises 160 x 250 watt polycrystalline solar panels manufactured by Japanese company E-Solar, complete with Huawei inverters and all ancillary systems. The work was completed last weekend by Amarenco Mainline, a partnership between Amarenco Solar and Mainline Group, a leading provider of network construction and support services. Amarenco Mainline offer turnkey commercial rooftop solutions to public bodies, commercial, agricultural and industrial clients.
In a statement, John Mullins, CEO, Amarenco Solar “Amarenco is very proud to be partnering with Mainline in designing and constructing the 40 kW system for WIT. This is a first for Amarenco in Ireland on the back of significant solar PV investments in France over the last two years. Amarenco has significant plans for ground-mounted solar investment in Ireland.
Jamie O’Rourke, CEO, Mainline added: “The WIT solar project timeline of six weeks from award to completion was very ambitious, however, working closely with WIT and our partner Amarenco Solar we are delighted to have successfully delivered what is a milestone project for our partnership.”