The University of Virginia has installed solar arrays on the roofs of two of its buildings on the Charlottesville campus.

The university says the solar panel systems – one atop Ruffner Hall and the other at the University Bookstore – consist of 1,589 solar panels, each one about 3 by 5 feet. Together the systems will produce 364 kilowatts of electricity at peak output, enough to power about 91 homes. The electricity will go directly into the local power grid.

The university's solar installation stems from the school's involvement in the Solar Partnership Program initiated by Dominion Virginia Power, the local power utility. Dominion has leased the roof space at Ruffner Hall and the bookstore, and Bay Electric installed the solar panels.

The university will be able to use the system for student and faculty research, and to raise awareness about renewable energy.

President Teresa A. Sullivan says the project illustrates the university’s commitment to sustainability.

“At UVA, we approach sustainability from many angles,” Sullivan says. “We have buses running on biodiesel fuel; we encourage ride-sharing and biking. We have university-wide recycling. In our dining halls, we compost and work to source food locally. We have taken steps to significantly reduce our water usage and emissions.”

Robert M. Blue, president of Dominion Virginia Power, says the Solar Partnership Program has been successful.

“To date, Dominion Virginia Power has installed more than 5 megawatts of ground-mounted and rooftop solar-generating capacity at industrial and commercial sites and at universities such as here in Charlottesville," Blue says.