Schatz Energy Research Center
Ahn and Greg insert a module into its place
Anh Bui and Greg Ball leverage a module into position

The Schatz Center roof goes solar

On the last weekend of September, HSU and Schatz Center alumnus Nate Coleman returned to Humboldt State with a team of solar professionals to lead the installation of a photovoltaic array on the roof of the Schatz Energy Research Center. Dodging between downpours, and assisted by Center staff, students, and HSU Facilities Management personnel, the team heroically completed the installation in two days.

The system is now complete except for the final electrical connections and an inspection, and should be live near the end of October. The 20 kilowatt (DC) array will produce an average of 57 kilowatt-hours per day, enough to completely power the Center’s new West Wing, with 25 kWh left over to power the main building.

The eighty modules of the solar array and the proprietary mounting hardware and connectors were donated to Humboldt State from Zep Solar through the efforts of Coleman and Jack West — a member of the Center’s Advisory Board and also an alumnus of the university.

Later this year, an array display will be installed outside the Center. Visitors will be able to see a live report of energy generated by the array, plus rooftop weather data that directly impacts array efficiency: solar radiation, air temperature and relative humidity, wind speed and direction, and the temperature of the modules. The monitor will also feature project news from the Schatz Center and data from the onsite EV charging station. The interpretive display has been funded by HEIF, the student-run Humboldt Energy Independence Fund, and NorthCAT, the Northern California Center for Alternative Transportation Fuels and Advanced Vehicle Technologies. HEIF also provided the instrumentation for the data acquisition system.

The Schatz Solar Array installation team included:

  • Solar professionals: Brian Atchley, Greg Ball, Nate Coleman, Marcelo Macedo, and Ryan Woodward
  • HSU Facilities: Charles Day, Travis Fleming, Ray Robinson, and Brian Toroni
  • Students: Anh Bui, Carisse Geronimo, Chih-Wei Hsu, Craig Mitchell, and Anamika Singh
  • Schatz staff: Charles Chamberlin, Nick Lam, Peter Lehman, Marc Marshall, Kyle Palmer, Rich Williams, and Jim Zoellick
Nate and Marcelo on the roof
Nate Coleman and Marcelo Macedo prepare the Schatz roof for module installation
Jim and Carisse set a thermocouple on the white backside of a module
Jim Zoellick shows Carisse Geronimo where to place a thermocouple on the back of a solar panel
Jim, Charles and Ray consult the module layout plan
Jim Zoellick, Charles Chamberlin, and Ray Robinson review the module layout plan
Chih-Wei and Ray remove a panel from the stack on the lift, while Charles holds the remainder
Charles Day delivers solar panels via hydraulic lift to Chih-Wei Hsu and Ray Robinson
Craig twists a module mount near the edge of the roof
Craig Mitchell tightens mounting hardware on the Schatz roof
Charles Chamberlin holds the specialized mounting hardware
“The mounting hardware works like a charm.” – Peter Lehman
Marcelo bends close to the roof to view a connection
Marcelo Macedo inspects hardware connections
Anh works at the base of a rain-covered module
Anh Bui attaches modules to the roof
Travis and Ray transport panels in a hydraulic lift with redwoods behind
Travis Fleming and Ray Robinson lift solar panels from the courtyard to the Schatz roof
Nate, Peter and Craig crimp roof bars
Craig Mitchell, Peter Lehman, and Nate Coleman (l to r) prepare the roof for mounting hardware
The installation team stands on the roof next to the assembled array
The module installation is complete!

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Schatz Energy news