Whitworth solar panels produce $6,000 in energy during first year




Posted on May 14, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Updated Thursday, May 15 at 6:00 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.--On a sunny day, you can get a clear view of Mt. Spokane on top of Whitworth University's Aquatics Center.

And from that same vantage point, you'll see 300 solar panels, soaking up the Springtime sun.

Whitworth solar panels produced more than $6,000 worth of energy in the first year after installation.

School leaders added the panels to their list of sustainable options on campus in May of 2013. So on Wednesday, 2 On Your Side checked in (one year later) to find out how well the solar panels actually worked.

Whitworth staff said energy production exceeded their expectations and it all stays in the university's grid.

Chris Eichorst, Whitworth Facility Services Director, said staff and students can watch solar energy levels from their desktop computers.
“As spring approached, the sun got a little higher in the sky. We can really see energy production going up,” said Eichorst.

He added energy production went down in the winter.

The sun-powered energy was enough to power one dorm building.

“It actually produced more than they predicted, so we are pleasantly surprised,” said Eichorst.

Eichorst said he hoped to begin another solar project at Whitworth. He also said Gonzaga University officials are considering starting a project of their own.

“Hopefully the solar technology gets a lot better, and a lot cheaper, so we can do more projects like this,” said Eichorst.

Eichorst said it will take about nine more years for the investment to pay itself off.