Geological Society of America Unveils Solar System

Joanna Schroeder

The Geological Society of America (GSA) is now powered by solar. This month the building began offsetting about 35 percent of its energy use with its new 65 kilowatt (kW) rooftop solar energy system. The solar system will provide the company’s headquarters with 88 megawatt hours per year of energy. This project is one of three renewable energy projects planned for the GSA building, that will use 100 percent renewable energy (wind & solar) by January 2011.

The solar array was designed and installed by Louisville, Colorado-based Bella Energy and utilizes 298 Sharp solar panels. According to a Sharp press release, GSA’s solar power system will prevent the emission of over 160,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.

“We are grateful for the availability of local funding from Xcel Energy and the City of Boulder to make this investment in renewable energy possible for GSA. The Society is committed to demonstrating environmental leadership and we want other commercial and nonprofit entities to know that this funding exists,” said GSA Executive Director Jack Hess. “Bella Energy was an excellent partner, they provided us with the professional workmanship and industry expertise that helped to make this project a success.”

Earlier this year, GSA is one of 12 Boulder-based nonprofits to receive $30,000 in funding from the City of Boulder’s ClimateSmart Solar Grant Fund. The grant was supplemented by funds from the GSA Foundation and their members and Xcel Energy’s Solar Rewards Program also offered $132,000 in rebates.

“This installation is a fine example of what can be accomplished with the government funding options that are currently available,” said Eric Hafter, senior vice president of Sharp Solar Energy Solutions Group. “The GSA is an incredible organization that promotes scientific understanding of the Earth. Sharp is proud to support the GSA in their efforts to protect the Earth as well, by utilizing clean renewable energy to power their headquarters.”

Electricity, Solar