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Columbia College adopts solar technology to heat water for dorms, athletics

{mosimage}The S.C. Energy Office has awarded Columbia College $193,530 in federal grant funds to install solar thermal water-heating systems for student dormitories and the college’s athletic center.

{mosimage}COLUMBIA — The S.C. Energy Office has awarded Columbia College $193,530 in federal grant funds to install solar thermal water-heating systems for student dormitories and the college’s athletic center.

A ribbon-cutting was held April 19 to celebrate completion of the installation, recognize project partners and provide an educational opportunity to learn about how the system works.

This is the college’s first solar energy conversion project and one of the largest in the Midlands.

“Solar technology adds an exciting new component to our continuing effort to be ‘green’ and environmentally responsible,” said Dr. Caroline Whitson, college president. “Thanks to this federal grant program and the S.C. Energy Office, our campus community is able to see firsthand how solar energy works for a residential setting as well as a commercial application.” She said this investment in renewable energy will pay dividends in long-term efficiency and cost savings while reducing the college’s carbon footprint.

The federal program has made it possible for the college to install solar thermal water heating systems in two dormitories, Mirse and Wesley Halls, which house about one quarter of the residential students, and in the Godbold Athletic Center. The 37-panel solar system, installed by Argand Energy, supplements steam water heating produced from natural gas. ¨ ¨

This clean energy project funded by the Energy Office is part of $3.3 million renewable and alternative energy grants awarded to 12 nonprofit organizations and government entities in South Carolina.

 “The S.C. Energy Office is excited to be a part of this project,” said Ashlie Lancaster, S.C. Energy Office director. “Not only will Columbia College save hundreds of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of this project, but the students will personally experience the benefits of renewable energy in their everyday lives.”

 

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