Washington University
Danforth, North, and Medical School Campuses; St Louis, MO
Engineer and Constructor (EPC) for 1.8 MW of Rooftop PV
Estimated Annual Production 2,250 MWh
Azimuth won this public RFP process to engineer, construct, and own/operate approximately 1.8 MW of rooftop PV on 6 buildings across the three St Louis campus locations. The engineering started in 2018 and the project was completed in 2019.
Almost all of this PV is on flat roofs, except for two small arrays on a steeply pitched metal roof of the Athletic Complex. We have now constructed over 20 PV systems for Washington University, and these two small arrays are the only ones visible on the St Louis campuses (a ground mount array also is on a WU campus, but that is outside the city at a university research facility). Because of this visibility, the university wanted to see what these arrays would look like before construction. So we created the rendering you see below. One of the pictures is a rendering and the other is a photograph of the finished product – which is which?
The 6 buildings are all in a dense, urban environment. Shading from high-rise nearby buildings required careful analysis to ensure compliance with the Service Agreement terms and conditions.
Construction required temporary closing of congested city streets for crane lifts and working throughout the school calendar without interrupting educational sessions, administrative or medical activities. Due to the need to schedule roof upgrades, the construction and commissioning was done in three phases throughout 2019, with all system commissioned and put into commercial operation in the last weeks of the year.
In addition to the engineering and construction of the PV systems, we also worked with the university to craft a student engagement program. This program, called “RESET” for Renewable Energy Student Engagement Team, selected 25 highly motivated undergraduates to participate in a 6-week program covering various topics germane to the solar-energy industry and this project specifically. These included policy, finance, engineering, and construction, and concluded with site assessment and drone exercises to evaluate installing PV systems on campus dormitory buildings. The RESET program had a capstone presentation to the university executive leadership to review the findings and introduce the dormitory PV project to the strategic plan for the university. The RESET program was so successful that it has become a part of ongoing curriculum, and Azimuth continues to participate in the instruction sessions.