Solar panels to join the grid

Workers position solar cells on a rack

From left, Jake Heims, Nathan Krakau and Michael Ottaway with CB Solar install a new array of solar panels Aug. 12. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

A couple of 8 X 60-foot solar panels on the east side of campus soon will be feeding energy into the university's electrical system. The panels are a gift from CB Solar, Des Moines, a solar system contractor founded by Iowa State alumni.

The solar energy generated by the two 12.5-kilowatt panels should provide enough electricity to power a facility the size of The Knoll (the president's house) for three months, said Lindsey Wanderscheid, project engineer for utilities in facilities planning and management. The panels also will be useful in teaching and research, she said.

Panel installation began Wednesay and should be completed today. The panels are going up near the wind turbine, northeast of the ISU Power Plant, and are visible from University Boulevard. 

Within a few weeks, the panels should be tied into the electrical system and making a contribution to university energy needs, Wanderscheid said.

In exchange for the donated panels, ISU officials will provide the panel's generated electricity records to CB Solar.

The Power Plant forms the backdrop as workers install new solar

The Power Plant looms in the background as Ottaway (left) and Heims fasten down the array. Photo by Christopher Gannon