UW-Solar (Phase 1)

Project Size: Large, >$1,000
Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: $4,500

Letter of Intent:

UW-Solar requests, in the first phase of this project, $4,500.00 to complete a feasibility study for the placement of smart solar panels on University of Washington buildings. If approved, we anticipate requesting CSF funding of approximately $90,000 for design and construction of the solar panel arrays. UW-Solar will leverage this funding for more, through the UW Student Technology Fee Committee, and other public grants.

UW-Solar: Two Objectives

1. To provide clean and sustainable power production in order to reduce reliance on outside energy resources, improve the resilience of power systems to outages and reduce the overall carbon footprint of the university. Allowing the university to become more self-sufficient in its energy production will reduce direct costs and environmental impact while improving capabilities for community service and rapid recovery during any future crises. The use of clean and renewable energy sources are a primary objective, as stated in the University of Washington’s Climate Action plan, for the future sustainability of the University.

2. Smart infrastructure systems rely upon computerized systems (SCADA) for monitoring and remote control. SCADA systems control water and sewer infrastructure, electrical grids, oil refineries, transportation systems, manufacturing systems, nuclear energy and hazardous chemical production. Historically, such systems were developed in isolation from each other, and were not designed for security and resilience to cyber-attack. The security of these systems on campus is important to UW, and as a model for other campuses, but also cities and regions. This project creates an opportunity for students to lead a project that develops and studies a smart solar energy Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) System.

The long-term UW-Solar vision is for the installation of solar panels across campus. The main benefits to continued installation are reduced outside energy resource consumption, reduced energy costs, energy resilience, environmental educational opportunities, and decreased environmental impacts.

Our interdisciplinary team, consisting of students in four UW Colleges, and in PhD, Masters, and Undergraduate programs, will develop a feasibility study, including maps of possible locations for solar panel installation on the University of Washington’s Seattle campus and a priority listing of projects, pursuant to the preferences of UW Administrators. We have engaged the enthusiastic participation of Housing and Food Services for this purpose. In 90 days, we will establish approval for the project, along with:

  • Policy related issues for the university;
  • University payments process for power usage;
  • Facilities issues including building and structural considerations;
  • Space usage concerns;
  • Location decision criteria and accessibility issues;
  • Approximate power generation;
  • Carbon equivalent measures comparing our output to other energy sources;
  • Cost savings for installation;
  • Average period for return on investment;
  • Potential for return of capital funding to the CSF for use on future projects;
  • Plans and commitments for management and maintenance of the installations;
  • Consensus for the project from stakeholders across the UW.

This feasibility study will develop a partnership with the College of Built Environments and University Housing and Food Services as pilots for construction and implementation of the solar arrays. This proposal is for the first phase of work. The second phase begins in early March of 2013 with major implementation from June to September of 2013.

After installation, UW-Solar will position monitors and publish on the web current real-time and historical energy production and savings from the solar panels. These monitors will educate the university community on the importance of environmental sustainability, the use of renewable resources, advantages of energy conservation, and overall savings in energy cost as an advantage of solar power. The panels will be connected to emergency energy supplies, to advocate and educate on resilience. Additionally, the team will develop a curriculum for use in a seminar on the process of siting solar panels, and offer this curriculum in a graduate student-led course for credit on campus.

STUDENT TEAM:

  • DC Grant – Masters of Infrastructure, Planning, and Management Candidate in the Department of Urban Design and Planning, College of Built Environments, National Science Foundation Cyber Corps Scholarship for Service Recipient, and Researcher in the Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity. DC has a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and Systems from the University of Washington and has over twenty years of technology experience in IT Operations, Project Management and Information Assurance.
  • Stefanie Young – Ph.D. Candidate in Urban Planning and Design in the College of Built Environments. She earned a Bachelor’s of Architecture from the University of Oregon and Masters of Urban Design and Planning from the University of Washington. Stephanie has more than eight years of experience in sustainable design and six years of direct solar implementation experience.
  • Jonathan Olds – Masters of Public Administration Candidate in the Evans School of Public Affairs and Masters of Urban Planning and Design Candidate in the College of Built Environments. He has a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts, with emphasis in environmental science and environmental management. Jonathan is an experienced environmental manager with over ten years of work in sustainability and environmental conservation practices.
  • Otis Alexander – Bachelors of Computer Science and Systems Candidate in the Institute of Technology. Applied Distributed Computing Lab: Smart and Secure Computing Research Group.
  • Kyle Nicholas – Masters of Infrastructure, Planning and Management Student in the Department of Urban Design and Planning, College of Built Environments.
  • Justin Brecese – Master of Science in Information Management Candidate, National Science Foundation Cyber Corps Scholarship for Service Recipient.
  • Casey Rodgers – Master of Science in Information Management Candidate, National Science Foundation Cyber Corps Scholarship for Service Recipient.
  • Kristen Gelino – Master of Urban Planning Candidate, received a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science and Political Science from the University of Michigan.

FACULTY SUPPORT:

  • Jan Whittington, MCRP, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor, Urban Design and Planning; Associate Director, Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity.

HOUSING AND FOOD SERVICES CONTACT:

  • J.R. Fulton, - Architect, Capital Planning and Sustainability Manager for Housing and Food Services expressed a strong interest in the success of this project.
Primary Contact First & Last Name: Stefanie Young