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Volume 58, Issue 1

June, 2009

Solar panels part of Science and Engineering’s final details

New, thin-film solar panels are installed on the roof of a new Science and Engineering Building at UCCS as the university continues to move into its largest, and most energy efficient, building.

Using a grant from the Governor’s Energy Office, proceeds from a 2008 fee passed by UCCS students, and funds from Colorado Springs Utilities rebate program, the new technology solar panels were installed as university departments begin to move in to the 155,000 square foot building.

Official opening ceremonies are scheduled for Aug. 6. Fall semester classes are planned in the building.

The total cost of the 13.6 kWh system is estimated at $107,000. UCCS received a $25,000 grant from the State of Colorado and anticipates a $39,000 rebate from Colorado Springs Utilities. The balance will be paid for by student fees.

The thin-film solar panels are believed to be the first to be installed on a state building, according to Gary Reynolds, executive director, Facilities Services.

“They look a lot like the 35 millimeter film used to,” Reynolds said of the new panels. “They are an unobtrusive part of making this newest UCCS building highly efficient.”

In May 2008, students voted to pay $5 per student per semester to support solar power initiatives on campus. The thin-film solar system is the first project to be funded from the student initiative. Last year, solar thermal panels, funded by the UCCS administration, were installed on the new UCCS Recreation Center, and significantly reduce heating costs. The UCCS Recreation Center became the first Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Design-certified public building in southern Colorado to earn gold status.

The solar energy system in the Science and Engineering building will be monitored and energy produced displayed on kiosk in the lobby of the building. Visitors will be able to view data on the performance of the system as well as energy and water use.

“Funding renewable energy projects is challenging especially in times of economic downturn. This initiative is really a testament to the students taking action and working together to get solar energy on the campus,” Linda Kogan, sustainability director, said.

UCCS officials will seek LEED certification for Science and Engineering, for an event center that is under construction on campus, and for a renovated Science Building. Plans call for the Science Building to also use solar panels, Reynolds said.

Colorado-based Douglass Colony installed the system. For more about the thin film solar panels, visit For more information about the Science and Engineering Building, visit

Communique is the online newsletter for UCCS faculty and staff. It is published weekly during the fall and spring semesters, monthly during the summer semester. Communique is sent to faculty and staff e-mail lists and, by request, to other e-mail addresses. Previous issues are available in the Communique Archives at, and the current issue is always at Suggestions and comments are welcome. Send ideas to or call Tom Hutton, 255-3439.

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