Marriott Library Sees the Sun with New Solar Project


(Photo by Dane Goodwin)

(Photo by Dane Goodwin)
(Photo by Dane Goodwin)

The Marriott Library unveiled its rooftop solar panels on Monday.

The project, monitored by the “solar dashboard,” has an online widget that displays how much energy the panels generate and the equivalent of that in fossil fuels.

Tom Melburn, who graduated from the U in business in May 2014, began the solar project in 2011. With funding from the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund, ASUU and Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky Program, Melburn took his interest in curbing climate change and started a few projects — one of which was the solar dashboard.

He hopes the dashboard shows “what students can do to help make their campus better … how to make a lasting impact.”

The dashboard only displays how much energy the panels create. It does not, however, show how much energy the library uses overall. Ian Godfrey, director of operations and logistics at the Marriott Library, said the rooftop panels generate 37.8 kilowatts of energy, which is about .6 percent of the library’s total energy output.

Melburn estimates that for the solar panels to generate all of the library’s energy, they would have to cover 25 roofs the same size as the library’s. The panels currently cover a quarter of the roof.

Joseph Glancy, a senior in accounting, hopes the project leads to a more sustainable campus by generating more awareness among students.

“A lot of decisions are influenced by college students, and it’s a good audience to raise [environmental] awareness in,” he said. “When we look at it that way, this is more of a process that we need to build on.”

The library is the sixth building on campus to complete a solar project, and HPER, the new law building and the William Browning Building will soon have panels installed.

The library will display the solar dashboard, and it will be available for students to view online at an undetermined date.

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