Power To Save: New Campus Going Green

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TANNERSVILLE -- Sunny skies should help one community college save some green.

Northampton Community College in Tannersville is installing thousands of solar panels in the parking lots.

Bolting and securing thousands of solar panels into place is just one of the final phases of construction at Northampton Community College's Monroe Campus in Tannersville, one that has them really going green.

"This is going to power up the equivalent of about 500 homes with the power."

Facilities director Mark Culp says these solar car ports will capture sunlight and power about 80 percent of the college here, part of the about $4 million the campus is spending on green projects that they hope will give them big returns.

"This campus is about four to five times the size of the existing campus and it will cost about the same as the old campus," Culp said.

Crews have spent months preparing to install the panels, a process they say is quite complex.

"They all get daisy chained together with the wires up there and there's about 11 strings, and then there's about 14 strings per combiner box," explained electrician Ryan Swarts.

"Yeah, 2,100, there's a lot. Like he said you have to be careful with them. You can't drop anything, you can't break any," added electrician Beau Kessler.

All of the energy captured on the solar panels in the parking lot comes here into an inverter, and once it's pumped through it will power the building.

A geothermal heating and cooling system is also in the basement of the college. A massive system of pipes keeps the building cool.

"We have about 160 wells about 400 feet deep that pump water down and back up through plastic tubing."

College officials hope both green systems will keep this building running efficiently for decades to come.


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