Despite our cold and snowy winters, Minnesota is a great state for solar electricity. UMD currently has 101 kW of on-campus solar production capacity with a goal of increasing capacity to 750 kW, utilizing existing building rooftops.
Live data and detailed information about each array can be found below.
Bagley Outdoor Classroom
The Bagley Outdoor Classroom has 28 solar panels, arranged in 2 rows of 14 panels each, and was installed in 2010. The installation was expected to reduce the building’s non-renewable energy needs to almost nothing over the course of a year, although in practice, the amount of energy generated is closer to 85% – 90% of the building’s needs.
Each of the 28 panels is a 200 watt Sanyo HIT Panel, for a total of 5600 watts (5.6 kWh) of capacity. These panels are tied into our utility grid, via a 6000w automatic voltage-sensing inverter, the Sunnyboy WebBox Sunny Boy 6000 US.
Although the building’s ultimate goal is to produce as much energy as it uses each year, we have yet to meet this “energy neutral” goal. The popular demand and special uses and equipment in the building have made this an extraordinary challenge. UMD tracks monthly energy production and energy use for the Bagley Outdoor classroom, as well as monitoring real-time use and production through an energy program (see a summary of Energy and Metering for Bagley Outdoor classroom, conducted by a supervisor in UMD Facilities Management in August 2012.)
Community Solar Garden
UMD Auxilliaries (Housing, Dining, & Transportation) support solar development in Minnesota and purchased 100 kilowatts of solar production capacity as part of the MN Power Community Solar Garden in Wrenshall. The one megawatt array came online in November 2018 and has been outperforming production expectations ever since.
Heikkila Chemistry & Advanced Materials Science Building (HCAMS)
The HCAMS 51-kilowatt solar array has 170 individual modules installed on ballasts on top of the roof. The solar array was added as part of the new construction project's budget and process. Solar modules are from SolarWorld, the Sunmodule Plus (SW 290-300).
There are 2 solar inverters to convert direct current to alternating current to be used in the building (one Sunny Tripower 20000TL and one Sunny Tripower 30000TL).
Malosky Stadium has 28 solar panels that were installed in the fall of 2008. The panel array provides a portion of the electrical needs of the Malosky Stadium building. (it is not connected to the grid.) The panels are arranged in 4 rows of 7 panels.
28 Sharp Solar Modules rated 208 Watts each, for a total of 5,824 watts (5.8 kWh) of electric power capacity. Each panel, a Sharp ND-208U1F, is rated to produce 7 Amps of current at 29 Volts in full sunlight. The array is arranged in two parallel chains of 14 panels connected in series, to create a 400 Volt, 14 amp source. The output of the array is connected to an inverter that converts the direct current into alternating current for use in the building.
The Inverter, a SMA Technologies SB-5000US Grid-Connected Inverter, is rated for 5000 Watts of electric power output. The Inverter chops up the 400 Volt DC output of the solar array and creates a 277 Vrms AC waveform, synchronized to one of the phases of the 277/480 V building electrical system.
Oakland Aspen Apartment Building
There 126 Heliene 72M modules which are rated at 360 Watts each, resulting in a grand total of 43,200 Watts, or 43.2 Kilowatts. Detailed information available here.
The array’s output is connected to an inverter that converts the direct current (DC) from the panels to alternating current (AC) which will be used to power the building. The building contains three SE14.4KUS inverters from SolarEdge Technologies.
This array is expected to produce 24% of the electricity use for the entire building, resulting in a 17% savings on the electricity bill. Because the building is heated with electricity, this solar array is a significant contributor to reducing the total energy use of the building.
Made Possible by Students
The project was championed and led by the SUN Delegation, a group of students passionate about expanding solar on campus and reducing the school's carbon footprint. The project was funded through student service fees, UMD Green Revolving Fund, and Housing and Residence Life.
Is My Roof Right for Solar?
Live in Duluth and wondering if your house/apartment/business might be suitable for a rooftop solar array? Then you'll want to type your address into the handy Duluth Shines! map for an immediate answer! The site also has information about rebates, loans, installers, and a ton of other solar-related resources.