Letter of Intent
Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: 
Letter of Intent: 


UW-Solar is working with the University of Washington (UW) and project architects, Perkins+Will, on the construction of UW’s Life Sciences Building. The purpose of this letter is to request $150,000 for the installation of roof-top photovoltaic (PV) panels and building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) on the new Life Sciences Building.



UW-Solar is an interdisciplinary team within the University of Washington’s Urban Infrastructure Laboratory that focuses on the development of solar installations with accompanying Industrial Control Systems on buildings on the UW campus. UW-Solar students range from undergraduate to the Ph.D. level within the Colleges of Engineering, Business, Built Environments, and Environmental Sciences. UW-Solar’s primary objective is to provide clean, sustainable power production to reduce the University of Washington’s reliance on external energy resources, improve power systems’ resilience to outages, and reduce the overall carbon footprint of the university. The usage of clean and renewable energy sources are a primary objective of the University of Washington’s Climate Action plan for the future sustainability of the University.


UW is working with Perkins+Will to construct the new Life Science Building. The implementation of a roof-top PV array will enhance the energy generation of the existing design, bringing the project closer to achieving LEED-NC Platinum certification. The identified potential for solar power generation on the new construction includes standard PV panels on the roof and BIPV on glass fins located on the southeast façade.

The BIPV addition is fully designed and slated for construction; however, the roof-top PV addition would be coordinated upon completion of building (scheduled for August 2018). This funding request is for the installation of both PV and BIPV systems. The proposal to CSF will include the complete installation and budget details for both systems.


The addition of photovoltaics to the Life Sciences Building will have a positive impact on the environment through the on-site production of renewable energy, which will both reduce the carbon-footprint of the building and increase its energy self-sufficiency.

The 120 BIPV fins on the southwest facade of the building provide up to 6,000 ft2 of south-east facing surface area for energy generation. Harnessing the potential energy output of this area could provide a significant source of renewable energy.

There is approximately 18,000 ft2 of available space for a PV installment on the roof penthouse, and an additional 2,300 ft2 of space on level 05. We propose a combined 100 kW PV system be installed on these surfaces.


UW-Solar completed a feasibility study for this project and presented installation options and recommendations to Perkins+Will for implementation. This project has and will continue to allow students to work with industry experts and gain experience working on project development, design, and construction management in a professional setting.


Research on the BIPV installation will directly affect future installations of BIPV around the state, as the University would be one of the first public institutions to implement this relatively new technology. A proposed Lucid dashboard in the lobby of the Life Sciences Building will show energy generated from both the BIPV and PV systems along with the energy use of the building. Visitors will be able to interact with the display to explore the building’s energy metrics and sustainable design features. The integrated PV panels on the southwest façade will be highly visible from Pacific Avenue. The unique aspects of this project make the new Life Sciences Building a leading example of sustainability in higher education and demonstrate the University’s commitment to investing in alternative energy sources.


The feasibility study investigated ongoing accountability for management and maintenance of the solar installations, as well as long-term leadership considerations for the project as it relates to executive stakeholders, logistical management, and staffing and budget impacts of relevant stakeholder organizations.


                               BIPV Installation $300,000
 Roof-top Installation $300,000
Total $600,000

We are exploring multiple funding opportunities to secure the full $600,000 needed for both installations. We are requesting $150,000 in funding from CSF, which will be instrumental in securing the additional $450,000 from matching grant programs such as the Department of Commerce Solar Grants, which awards funding equal to the initial seed money already secured.

In the event we are unable to acquire the full $600,000, the $150,000 awarded will be returned to CSF.


Life Sciences Building Project Managers:


Project Manager - Alex Ratcliff, alexr529@uw.edu

Team Lead - Ian Rose, isr2@uw.edu


Facility Manager - Jan Whittington, janwhit@uw.edu

Urban Infrastructure Lab Manager - Stefanie Young, sy10@uw.edu

Contact Information
Primary Contact First & Last Name: 
Alexander Ratcliff
Full Proposal
This will display after the CSF committee has reviewed and approved your LOI, and after you have received the link to edit your application.
Executive Summary: 

UW-Solar is a student-led organization working with architecture firm Perkins+Will to install building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) and rooftop photovoltaics (PV) on the new Life Sciences Building of the University of Washington Seattle campus. The intended installation will serve both as an ancillary source of electrical power and a heat gain control measure on the building envelope. The BIPV panels will also be highly visible and showcase UW as a steward in sustainable construction. The rooftop PV will generate substantial clean energy and reduce the building's carbon footprint.

Total amount requested from the CSF: 
$150 000
This funding request is a: 
Items marked with *** are what CSF funding will be used for.
ItemCost per ItemQuantityTotal Cost
Racking System3037011,100
Weather Station5001500
Labor (Installation)120,000
Operations & Maintenance***150/year40 years6,000
Remaining Balance from $600,000 budget for BIPV245,118
Non-CSF Sources: 
Note: If we are unable to raise the necessary funds to complete this project, we will return the full award to CSF
NameAmount to be RequestedEstimated Application Date
Seattle City Light GreenUp Program150,000Fall, 2017
American Solar Energy Society50,000Fall, 2017
Department of Commerce Energy Efficiency and Solar Grants300,000Spring, 2018
Project Completion Total: 
$600 000
Sustainability Impact: 
Energy Use
Sustainability Challenge: 

A solar installation directly adresses the problems of climate change, air pollution, and energy independence. Solar cells generate clean electricity on-site, which reduces the carbon footprint of the building.

Explain how the impacts will be measured: 

The addition of BIPV and rooftop photovoltaics to the new Life Sciences Building will have a positive impact on the environment through the on-site production of renewable energy as well as the reduction of energy consumption. BIPV will increase energy self-sufficiency and resiliency by producing nearly 5,000 kWh per year. Initial estimates for rooftop PV range from approximately 80,000 to 110,000 kWhrs of clean energy output per year. In total, we estimate that adding BIPV and rooftop PV will generate approximately 110,000 kWh per year. The presence of vertical fins will control heat gain to the building, decreasing energy consumption associated with internal environmental controls.

A Siemens dashboard located in the lobby of the Life Sciences Building will display the energy metrics for building. Students, faculty, and visitors can interact with the dashboard to see real-time energy production data, including the energy generated by the BIPV and PV systems.

Education & Outreach: 

The BIPV of the Life Sciences Building will be placed on vertical glass fins on the building’s southwest facing facade. The solar array will be highly visible to building occupants, pedestrians along the Burke-Gilman Trail, and commuters traveling along NE Pacific Street. Representatives from UW Facilities supported the installation for this reason during design review meetings in December, citing the ability of this project to showcase the University of Washington as a steward in sustainability.

Although the rooftop PV will not be visible from the street, students, faculty, and visitors can interact with the Siemens dashboard to view the energy produced by the system. In addition, UW-Solar plans to use events and public displays on campus to showcase information about the project. This will communicate the impact of local clean power and raise awareness within the community about energy conservation and renewable energy production. Campus outreach will also include information dissemination through UW student organizations devoted to sustainability, clean energy, and green buildings.

Student Involvement: 

Students from the UW-Solar group, consisting of both students enrolled in a College of Built Environments studio and student volunteers, will be directly involved with the project. The students currently involved with UW-Solar range from undergraduate freshmen to Ph.D. candidates, and come from the UW Colleges of Engineering, Business, Built Environments, and Environmental Sciences. Students will lead the feasibility study and present options and recommendations to Perkins+Will regarding the design of the rooftop PV. Students will also work with Perkins+Will throughout the project, allowing them to become involved in a professional setting, working on project development, design, and construction management during the installation. All students directly involved in this project are receiving school credit through VIP-courses in the Engineering Department.

TaskTimeframeEstimated Completion Date
Search for Additional FundingOngoingSummer, 2017
Apply for fundingOngoingFall/Winter, 2017
Construction of Life Sciences Building2 yearsJuly 12, 2018
Apply to Department of Commerce Grant1 monthSpring, 2018
Draft/Submit Request for Proposal2 monthsSummer, 2018
Construction of Rooftop PV6 monthsWinter, 2018
Amount Awarded: 
Potential Funding Reductions: 
If we are awarded less than the $150,000 requested we will respond in 1 or 2 ways: 1) Apply for more funding from outside sources to make up the difference in budget or 2) Reduce the size of the rooftop PV system until we have the budget for it OR reduce the amount of budget that is used to offset the BIPV costs
Project Longevity: 

The estimated lifetime of the BIPV installation is 25-30 years. The estimated lifetime of the rooftop PV installation is 35-40 years. Operations and Maintenance costs are incorporated into our budget.

Project status: 
Active: Post-implementation phase