Chesapeake College Harnessing Sun's Rays to Power Campus - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Chesapeake College Harnessing Sun's Rays to Power Campus

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One of the solar arrays on Chesapeake College's Campus (Photo:WBOC) One of the solar arrays on Chesapeake College's Campus (Photo:WBOC)

WYE MILLS, Md.- Chesapeake College in Queen Anne's County has been experimenting with different types of green energy over the past 10 years. It already has a windmill, which you can see on Route 50, and several geothermal generators to help power the college's buildings.  The college is now using one of its parking lots to create even more clean energy.

At a glance it may look like the kind of place you would rent a car from, with awnings stretching over several parking spots.  Except they aren't awnings.  They are solar panels.  Greg Farley with Chesapeake College says this is just the latest advance in green energy on campus.

"It has been hard to justify solar because the cost of it has historically been a little bit high, but the costs have kept coming down, and over the past ten years, it has never been cheaper to do than it is now," Farley said. "In terms of the power we are able to generate compared to the cost of putting up the array, this was certainly very cost effective for us."

The new panels were a surprise to some returning students, who at first though they were just a shady spot to park, until they looked closer.

"I think it's awesome, it's saving a lot of energy and it's a good way to power the school.  Green energy is a great thing to do, better than all the stuff that's polluting the earth," said Joshua Kalina.

The panels do generate a substantial amount of power.  That fact was fully realized during a performance test three weeks ago.

"When we did the test, we were able to run the campus at full load with students in the science labs and classrooms with the solar arrays.  We were pleasantly surprised with that.  That was a great outcome for us," said Farley.

A FACT THAT STUNS STUDENTS 

"I think it's amazing that we're saving that much energy just on using these solar panels.  I think we should have more of them.  I think it's an extremely good idea and people should have them all over the place," said Cody Fowler.

The next step is to install a massive battery that will store extra energy that can be used on cloudy days, and also to feed back energy into the grid for public use.

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