RRC set to install North American first solar panels at downtown campus

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Coinciding with Earth Day, Red River College (RRC) announced the upcoming installation of state-of-the-art solar panels at its innovation center in Winnipeg’s Exchange District.

The Kromatix solar modules, which will be integrated into the southern exterior of the facility, are a first in North America. The 400 opaque, color-treated panes of glass will complement the 138 roof-mounted solar panels and other energy-efficient systems in the 100,000 m² innovation center. According to RRC, the technology will offset energy consumption by about 193 MWh / year, or enough energy to power 18.5 average sized households for a year.

“The college has some very high sustainability goals, and the project shows that,” Maria Mendes, director of capital projects at Red River College, told Winnipeg Sun Thursday. “One of the goals was to get the project as close to zero as possible so that we use as little energy as possible. One way to do this is to have to produce your own energy. “

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Once the innovation center is completed, students in RRC’s technical programs can use the innovation center as an active laboratory to measure energy consumption and generation for electricity, heating, cooling and lighting.

“We are proud to be the first institution in North America to embrace this sustainable technology,” said Fred Meier, President and CEO of RRC on Thursday. “It is only fitting that it should be installed in a building designed to cultivate and promote innovative ideas.”

According to Mendes, the Kromatix panels cost roughly the same as some other glass facade products. Adding the system also protects the building from the elements.

“Instead of siding, we have these panels,” she said. “There are solar cells behind this glass. The solar energy goes to the solar cells and we collect the solar energy and then use it in the building. We will use this energy in our footprint. So if we produce more than we consume, it is fed back into the grid. “

When asked if RRC had a conversation about wind power, Mendes said, “There are a number of restrictions on noise in relation to noise. Passive solar is one of the great options. “

The crews will start installing the panels next week.

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