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Solar Panels and Electric Car Charging Station Green Up the Law School

June 1, 2010

Colorado Law, in partnership with the University of Colorado at Boulder, installed new rooftop solar panels and an electrical car charging station in the Wolf Law Building, enhancing its reputation as a LEEDs certified building.

The solar panels were installed and functioning in January 2010, while the charging station has been installed and will be functioning by July 2010. Colorado Law is believed to be the first law school in the United States to have both the solar panels and an electric car charging station.

“It’s appropriate that Colorado Law pursue alternative energy systems and support systems,” said Colorado Law Dean David Getches. “This is an institution known for its natural resources and energy programs, such as the Natural Resources Law Center and the Center for Energy and Environmental Security. We should, and do, walk our talk.”

The 52 new solar panels will provide Colorado Law with up to 11.96 kilowatts of energy per hour. One kilowatt hour is enough to power the average household for one hour. In addition, Colorado Law’s use of solar energy encouraged the rest of the CU-Boulder campus to install 420 solar panels on four other campus buildings.

The solar panels were installed as a part of the XCEL smart grid project. A combination of tax credits and other funding options allowed the school to install the panels at little up-front cost. The system is equipped with online monitoring, allowing students, faculty, and community members to view the amount of energy the solar panels manufacture at any given time.

The charging station is in the law school’s West parking lot, Lot 470. It can handle both 110 and 220-volt plug-ins. Each car will take 1-2 hours to fully charge.

"As the number one ‘green university’ in the country, it makes sense for CU-Boulder to develop this charging station at the Law School as well as others in the future,” said Chancellor Phil DiStefano. “As the number of electric cars increase, the campus will have to provide charging stations for our faculty, staff, students, and visitors.”

The station is a “smart system,” meaning that electric car drivers can see when it is available and will receive a text message when their car is finished charging. In addition, the system will allow the CU-Boulder parking office to monitor the station, ensuring that the station is available to other users once a car finishes charging.

Colorado Law and CU-Boulder purchased the car charging station from Coulomb Technologies, who will also service the station. CU-Boulder will receive a percentage of the cost to charge each car, allowing the school to recoup its investment within eight years.

In addition to these new forms of energy efficiency, Wolf Law Building, which was completed in 2006, has a LEEDs gold certification. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the certification service for the U.S. Green Building Council.

Dean Getches and Richard Schaden with Schaden's Tesla.