New solar panels on campus will power Auraria Library

November 7, 2019

Solar panels on top of the Auraria Library roof

Have you noticed the Auraria Library roof has a new shine to it? In October 2019 the installation of the solar array project was completed.

The Auraria Sustainable Campus Program (ASCP) recognized that renewable energy is a top priority for our student body, so they assembled a strong proposal and students from all three institutions on the Auraria Campus voted to approve the project. ASCP is a campus-wide program with the explicit mission of reducing the Auraria Campus’ ecological impact and dependence on fossil fuels. Its seven pillars are alternative transportation, education & outreach, energy efficiency, food & gardens, renewable energy, water conservation, and waste diversion. ASCP serves all three institutions that share the Auraria Campus.

Auraria Campus students on the Auraria Library learning about the solar panels.
ASCP values the student’s input when deciding on what projects to move forward with.

Chris Herr, Sustainability Officer for ASCP, says there are numerous projects the program is implementing on campus at any given time, and he’s working to better promote the awesome work being done. Herr is especially passionate about making the Auraria Campus more sustainable because he graduated from CU Denver himself, completing his master’s in Public Administration and non-profit manager certification in May 2017.

ASCP contracted Namaste Solar to install over 1 million kWh of solar energy on the Auroria Library roof, which will offset over 70% of the library’s electricity use!

Quick facts about the array

  • Produces over 1 million kWh annually (enough to power more than 100 homes)
  • Saves an estimated average of $40,000 a year in energy costs, which will be used to fund future energy efficiency and renewable energy projects
  • Prevents 1.2 million lbs CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere each year
  • One of the largest singular rooftop arrays in downtown Denver 
  • Consists of more than 2,000 total panels

Funding for the project

A $5 sustainability fee is included in all CU Denver student fees. This cost helps on-campus efforts, like installing solar energy projects, composting, alternative transportation efforts, and much more.

Some other projects ASCP is responsible for:

  • 120 additional bike parking spaces
  • Pedestrian lighting upgrade
  • 16 organic raised beds growing produce and flowers
  • Steam weed killer for community gardens to limit chemical usage
  • Shower and restroom retrofits (low-flow devices)
    • 4.5 million gallons of water saved annually
  • E-waste and compost bins
    • 493,000 lbs of compost and recycling diverted from landfill

To celebrate the exciting addition to campus, there will be a Solarbration on Tuesday, Nov. 12 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the library’s Discovery Wall area. Free appetizers and refreshments will be served, along with informational sessions from Xcel Energy and Namaste Solar.

Follow ASCP on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to learn more about how students are helping to contribute towards a more sustainable Auraria Campus!