YSU displays new solar-energy panels
By Jeanne Starmack
Youngstown State University showed off some new paneling Tuesday, and guests got to go to the roof of Moser Hall to see it.
It’s a fitting place for the new solar-energy panels — the roof of the university’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
“This solar-energy system ... provides a perfect real-world teaching laboratory for our students as they learn about new and upcoming technology as it relates to alternative energy,” said the college’s dean, Martin Abraham.
The system also will provide part of the energy needs for the building, saving the university $160,000 over the system’s 25-year life span, estimates Carbon Vision, the Shaker Heights company that installed it.
The solar panels, which cover an area the size of two tennis courts, were installed at no charge by Carbon Vision, thanks to state and federal grants.
The $350,000 system will cost YSU only $25,000 under a seven-year contract with Carbon Vision, said YSU Engineer Ralph Morrone.
“As a private company, they get grants and take depreciation of the asset,” Morrone explained.
Under the contract, Carbon Vision will own the system and the university will pay for power. After the contract is up, the university will own the system and will generate free power.
Not only does the university get a power boost and the students get a hands-on look at how solar panels work, but local businesses also benefit, said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, of Niles, D-17th.
The solar panels are mounted to the roof by a Solar FlexRack system, which is made by the Youngstown-based company Northern States Metals.
Ryan said another Youngstown company supplies Northern States Metals.
“General Extrusions makes what Northern States buys for FlexRacks,” he said. “This brings more jobs back to our community.”
YSU President Cynthia Anderson said the panels represent the university’s quest to be an urban-research university.
“It also represents our partnership with business and industry,” she said.