More than 2.5 percent of the energy used in Nichols Hall, approximately 9000 watts of electricity, comes from onsite renewable sources such as the photovoltaic cells, allowing the green building to operate 27 to 33 percent more efficiently than a baseline building of the same size. Akeena Solar, Inc., the nation’s leading solar power installer, has installed over 3000 systems nationwide and provided Harker with the 54 solar modules sitting on Nichols Hall’s roof. The poly-crystalline panels will produce about 10.3 kilowatts of energy, offsetting 165,000 pounds of carbon dioxide and 152 pounds of nitrous oxide. With Fat Spaniel Technologies’ monitoring system, the community can see the energy production data online and on display in the atrium.
The display, located outside of the Jain Technology Center, shows the current and historical production, the amount of greenhouse gases avoided by the use of this solar energy, and a technical tour of how solar electricity is generated. In addition, environmental equivalencies place the energy production into perspective and offers educational awareness by calculating the amount of homes that can be powered by the energy generated and also the amount of car emissions avoided. Fat Spaniel has provided about 2,500 monitoring and reporting systems worldwide, of which roughly 25 percent have been for schools, but only a handful of these schools have installed displays, according to Richard Eckman, director of operations at Fat Spaniel. All data is made available to teachers and students,” Eckman said. The production data “becomes a teaching aid for how solar panels work.”