Santa Fe College Dedicates Newest Solar Array to Celebrate Earth Week

Santa Fe College Dedicates Newest Solar Array to Celebrate Earth Week

Santa Fe College is kicking off Earth Week by dedicating its second renewable energy project, a 72 kW photovoltaic array on the roof of the Lawrence W. Tyree Library at the Northwest campus.

Web gallery of SF energy projects

The recently completed installation is feeding energy into the grid as part of Gainesville Regional Utilities’ solar feed-in tariff, or FIT. (To put 72 kW in perspective, a typical residential array is about 5 kW.)

The dedication will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, April 19 in front of the library. The brief ceremony will include remarks by President Jackson Sasser, Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan, and University of Florida Vice President for Administrative Affairs Ed Poppell.

“This event inaugurates Earth Week celebrations throughout our community,” said Sasser. “More importantly, it symbolizes the innovative partnerships that make this community unique and form one of the cornerstones of our collaboratory.”

The solar array is connected to software and a monitor in the library lobby so that Santa Fe students can view the real-time production rate of the panels. The new project is already producing power and feeding it into the grid and is almost three times the size of the thin-film PV array on top of the Perry Construction Institute, which was Santa Fe’s first FIT project.

Under the leadership of Bill Reese, associate vice president of Facilities Services, Santa Fe has made energy efficiency a priority across the campus, which is comprised of 1 million square feet of conditioned buildings, some constructed as early as the 1970s.

The college has decreased its annual energy use since the 2004-2005 school year by 2,517,600 kWh, despite adding 73,000 square feet of new facilities.

Natural gas consumption went from 253,010 therms in 2005-2006 to 182,356 therms in the 2008-2009 school year, for a reduction of 70,654 therms.

A 900-gallon solar thermal installation supplies hot water to Santa Fe’s gymnasium and the college has made upgrades to its chiller plant that also save energy. Facilities replaced the cooling towers and saved 613,816 kWh, enough electricity to power 63 homes for a year. That project also brought in a $40,000 commercial rebate from GRU.

The college has also replaced incandescent bulbs with LEDs in exit signs and put energy misers into vending machines, installed new lighting in the gymnasium and along the concourses, and changed from metal halide to induction lighting in the parking lots.

Dan Clark, key account representative at Gainesville Regional Utilities, enjoys a close working relationship with Reese and his staff.

“Santa Fe is helping us educate the business community and other facility managers about what is possible,” said Clark.

For more information about Santa Fe’s energy conservation efforts, please contact Bill Reese at 352-395-5523.


  • Bill Reese, Facilities, 352-395-5523 or
  • Julie Garrett, media relations coordinator, for assistance facilitating your story, 352-395-5430 (office) or 352-870-2924 (cell), or