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Global Change
UW Mechanical Engineering Building
Main Campus, Seattle

January 2005

Electricity Generation
· 2.6 kilowatts DC peak capacity
· 2,200 kWh per year - estimated

· (16) Sharp 165 watt poly-crystalline modules
· (2) SMA Sunny Boy 1800 watt, 120 VAC inverters
· Cost: $14,800

Project Team
· Seattle City Light
· University of Washington
· WSU Northwest Solar Center
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Solar Project - UW Mechanical Engineering Building

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Project Summary
In 2002, three UW students evaluated the feasibility of using solar to generate electricity on the UW campus. They surveyed campus facilities for potential solar sites and explored opportunities for funding. While the student team concluded the cost of PV is still not competitive with conventional energy sources, they recommended the formation of a student organization and small-scale demonstrations to educate the campus community, encourage further research, and advocate for a more energy independent and green-powered university.

In 2003, Mechanical Engineering student Nathan Miller, in cooperation with Dave Fields, UW Facilities Manager, and Dr. Philip Malte, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, applied for and was successful in receiving Seattle City Light Green Power Program funding for a
  The UW Mechanical Engineering Department offers coursework on solar energy.
The UW Mechanical Engineering Department offers coursework on solar energy.

solar PV demonstration project at the Mechanical Engineering Building. The project consists of two arrays of (8) 165-watt modules each (2.6 kilowatts DC total) mounted on the building's southeast façade and roof.

Installed in late 2004, the solar arrays produce only a small amount of the building's electricity requirements, but serve as a testing and educational resource for the UW Department of Mechanical Engineering. Solar coursework is included in ME 426 and ME 442 as well as other classes. The wall-mounted array also creates awareness of solar energy for the greater campus community and walk-by traffic.

In early 2005, the system began producing electricity. Kilowatt-hour output may be viewed below.

UW Mechaincal Engineering Department homepage

Contact: Professor Philip Malte,

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