Photovoltaic arrays for energy efficiency
I was inspired by the photo in the paper (April 16) about the extensive 98-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) solar system installed by SolSource of Denver on the roof of Blue Mountain Arts. When I think of all the acres of flat rooftops available in Boulder, imagine how much renewable energy we could produce if we placed photovoltaics on nonresidential rooftops throughout the city.
It’s estimated that for every acre of rooftop, we can generate as much as 0.7 megawatts of electrical power and supply energy to anywhere from 72 to 200 homes per year (depending on the system). Tapping into unused real estate on top of city buildings to generate renewable energy makes sense instead of covering up our open space with solar arrays (land, which we could better use for growing food). Urban rooftop solar systems will also help cool buildings further increasing the structure’s energy use. In the SolSource installation, the PV panels kept the roof intact and will prevent over 257,000 pounds of CO2 carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere every year.
By using the roofs of Boulder’s big box stores, city recreation centers, manufacturing plants and large office and municipal buildings for PV arrays, we can create local electrical generation centers across Boulder and make a noticeable dent in reducing our use of fossil fuels for energy production. Given the combined and unprecedented challenges of climate change and peak oil, Boulder’s citizens are increasingly aware that we need to transition as quickly as possible to renewable energy sources.
Boulder, we have the talent and knowledge to reduce our city’s contribution to global warming and be a leader nationwide for innovative environmental ideas. Let’s make rooftop PV arrays on nonresidential rooftops a long-term sustainable solution that one day, when we look back, we’ll say “well done!”
To which I replied