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WVC receives IGEN award for solar project

Mount Carmel, Ill.— Wabash Valley College has been awarded an Illinois Green Economy Network’s sub-award for its proposed solar project at the college’s Industrial Studies building. The college has been awarded $150,597 to complete the project.

The award funds were made available through the Renewable Energy Resources Trust Fund through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. WVC has several projects on the docket focused on the reduction of carbon emissions. WVC Dean of Instruction Robert Conn wrote the following in the proposal to IGEN:

“Wabash Valley College proposes measuring our total impact on the climate, identifying the largest activities contributing to this impact, and use this information to develop meaningful carbon reduction goals…. Three high-profile campus projects will be showcased to reduce carbon emissions: implementing Industrial Studies building solar array, installation of two electric vehicle charging stations, and LED lighting upgrades in the IS Building and WVC soccer field.”

In the end, WVC was awarded the necessary funds to implement the solar array intended for the Industrial Studies building.

Conn wrote that these types of carbon emission reduction projects will allow WVC to showcase its efforts to the community while significantly reducing its carbon footprint. Savings from these reductions will be reinvested into other energy solutions creating a snowball effect that will allow minor victories along the way to WVC’s energy sustainability.

WVC began planning for sustainability around 10 years ago with the formation of a committee known as the 255 Initiative.

The existing solar array on the Industrial Studies building was funded through a previous IGEN grant and was an incredible success.

“We were able to produce our own electricity to run the high-energy consuming equipment required to teach precision machining,” wrote Conn. “Expanding on this previously successful project through the addition of a proposed 49.28 kW DC solar project will allow WVC to showcase our efforts to the community and demonstrate the success of smaller size arrays can have on an organizations carbon impact.”

Initial studies show this new installation could reduce WVC’s energy consumption by nearly 68,000 kilowatt-hours in the first year, reducing the electric bill for the building from approximately $1,499 to $991 per month— realizing $207,828 over a 25-year period.

The college was informed that it has made it into the next round of funding consideration and that the college is eligible to submit additional information for consideration of the proposed electric vehicle charging stations and lighting upgrades.

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