NMSU Builds Solar Powered Parking Structure


New Mexico State University's (NMSU) Institute for Energy and the Environment and College of Engineering are finalizing the design of a solar-powered parking structure scheduled for construction in early 2007.

The structure will be located beside the Student Health Center on NMSU's main campus in Las Cruces, N.M. It represents the first nonresearch, energy production photovoltaic (PV) array on campus and will be the second largest such system in New Mexico, the university says. The power will be used for the structure's lighting as well as approximately 10% of all electrical energy used by the center.

The system will consist of 18 kW of PV panels mounted as the canopy to a shaded parking structure, which is expected to produce a capacity of 33 MW of electricity. Vehicles parked under the structure will remain cooler, thus giving off lower carbon dioxide emissions and requiring less power from the vehicle to run air conditioners shortly after startup, NMSU adds.

‘The energy produced by this photovoltaic system will be passed directly into the existing electrical system, where it will serve a portion of the energy required by the Student Health Center,’ says Corey Asbill, engineer at the Southwest Technology Development Institute and co-principal investigator of the project. ‘This will translate directly into energy cost savings for the university.’

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