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WeCAN Announces Largest Solar Panel Installation on a Western Colorado College Campus

Western Colorado Action Network (WeCAN), a Mesa State College student organization, along with its partners -- Western Colorado Congress, Mesa State College, Xcel Energy, Mesa State's Associated Student Government and Shell Mahogany Research Project -- are pleased to announce the completion of a two-year effort, the installation of solar panels on the science building at Mesa State. It is the largest solar panel system on any collegiate campus in western Colorado.

"We took a winding road and a few times during the campaign I thought we wouldn't get it accomplished, but that's what makes seeing those [solar] panels up on the roof feel so good," said WeCAN member Jessica Shaw.

The solar installation is a 10 kW Photovoltaic System with 64 155-watt panels. It is projected there will be a $100,000 energy savings over the 25-year warranty period for the panels.

"Mesa State is very happy to be involved in this partnership and to be a responsible steward of resources. In addition to the solar panels, we are also having a professional energy audit done and will soon have recommendations for additional changes we can make to conserve energy and save money," said Mesa State President Tim Foster.

Mesa State provided $12,650 in cash and in-kind services to help make the project a reality.

After two years of fundraising, Western Colorado Congress and WeCAN contributed $59,500 toward the $117,150 project. That included purchasing the $45,000 solar panels.

"The students deserve the spoils on this one. They put their heart and soul into this project and they have the passion to continue to make Mesa State a leader in clean energy development. I think you'll see that their next campaign is just as exciting as this one," said WCC and WeCAN Organizer Andy Whipple.

Xcel Energy provided a $45,000 rebate in its efforts to encourage and support alternative energy sources while Shell stepped up and donated $20,000 to the students in the beginning of the campaign.

"We are honored to participate in this program and help the students of Mesa State accomplish their goal. This program matches Shell's efforts to develop all energy sources, including conventional, oil shale and alternative, to responsibly meet growing domestic demand," said Jill Davis, senior public affairs representative for the Shell Mahogany Research Project.

Atlasta Solar Center of Grand Junction installed the solar system at the college.

"Colorado is on the path to a brighter and more independent energy future, and the Mesa State College 10 Kilowatt Solar Array is an important part of Colorado's commitment to clean energy. The students, faculty, administration, and staff of Mesa State College are leaders in solar power on the Western Slope. Atlasta Solar Center is proud to be a partner in this historic achievement," said Lou Villaire of the Atlasta Solar Center.

WeCAN also received grants from C.O.R.E. in Carbondale and from the Western Colorado Community Foundation among many other private donations that contributed to the project.

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