As of Sept. 2, Iliff School of Theology, 2323 S. Iliff Ave., is now officially a member of the schools-with-solar club. A 352-panel array is operational on the roof of Iliff’s Schlessman Commons and can generate up to 130 megawatts annually.
The panels were installed by City Electric of Louisville, Colorado, and financing was provided by Renewable Energy Ventures of Lakewood, Colorado.
Iliff Theology Schlessman Commons solar panels
The Iliff School of Theology’s Schlessman Commons received new solar panels Sept. 2. The panels can provide up to 130 megawatts per year—65 percent of the campus’ annual electrical draw. Photo by Haines Eason
“These are organizations that benefit nonprofit organizations like Iliff School of Theology,” says school President Tom Wolfe. “Due to a complex set of opportunities with the federal government, what ... these entities do is gain some of the profits from a venture like this while ... Iliff gets to have this system for free.”
The panels’ daily 98 kilowatts capacity—which results in the 130 annual megawatt rate—means up to 65 percent of the campus’ electrical draw can be supplied by the system each year.
While these numbers are exciting to President Wolfe, he notes an even more important side effect is the school’s reduced carbon footprint. He reports that on an annual basis the system will offset 100 tons of carbon.
“This project demonstrates how organizations can work consistently toward their values,” President Wolfe says. “How we live as an institution is just as critically important as what we teach in the classroom. Our commitment as a good steward of the environment speaks to our responsibility as an educational leader in engaging our students with courageous theological imaginations to serve and transform their communities and the world.”
The solar array is part of campus-wide systems efficiency upgrades. Though some work in this regard has already begun, in the near future Iliff plans a comprehensive upgrade of its heating and cooling infrastructure with the goal of being as green as possible. As it upgrades its systems, Iliff is keeping an eye on various certifications—LEED among them.
“We’re early on in this process though,” Wolfe says, “but certification [and the upgrades] are very much a part of our commitment to long-term sustainability.”
Wolfe says the solar array has had a galvanizing influence on Iliff’s efforts to green and modernize their campus.
“[The array] has helped us turn the corner towards more of those kinds of initiatives,” he says. “One of my favorite theologians is Canadian, Douglas John Hall. He has a quote, ‘We own nothing, but we are entrusted with everything.’ If we as a theological institution act like we own nothing but are entrusted with everything, that puts our students in a much better place when they go out to serve the world in very significant and sustainable ways.”