NAU brightens sustainable outlook with major solar panel agreement!


Rooftop Solar Dedication

Jessica Lazor, Fletcher Wilkinson, John Morris, NAU President Rita Cheng and Brandon Vanbibber at the ceremony Tuesday.

Northern Arizona University took its latest step toward long-term sustainable operations today by announcing that the university will host a large solar panel system on campus.

NAU President Rita Cheng signed documents at a ceremony on campus to mark the project’s launch. Student representatives and officials from Arizona Public Service also attended.

“There are many people to thank for making this day possible,” Cheng said. “They include a group of dedicated staff in Facilities Services, the student leaders of NAU Green Fund and our friends at Arizona Public Service. Today’s signing honors our collective commitment to sustainability and the university’s mission to use all resources responsibly. This solar project symbolizes what can be achieved by working together toward a common goal.”

The project features a 562-kilowatt system that will be built atop the San Francisco Parking Garage under an agreement with BriteStreet Energy Group. NAU will purchase the electricity generated by the system from BriteStreet for a period of 20 years.

“We are excited to be working with NAU,” said Tim Kubes, vice president of Commercial Development for BriteStreet. “The team at NAU is outstanding and we appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this project.”

A separate 20-year agreement with Arizona Public Service provides an incentive of 6 cents per kilowatt hour produced by the system.

In addition, the student-funded NAU Green Fund will contribute $100,000 a year for the first 10 years to offset the cost of purchasing the generated electricity. Both the APS incentives and student funding ensured the economic feasibility of the project by reducing the cost of electricity.

Sky Construction and Engineering will install the system. Construction will begin in June with final completion scheduled for September.

The NAU Green Fund was created in 2010 when students voted to support a fee of $5 per student per semester that would go toward making campus more sustainable.