Solar Energy Study wins the Andy Kesteloo Award

Project from Camosun College students mapped the solar potential of campus rooftops and parking lots

CAGBC staff on November 21, 2022


Winning Project Title: Solar Energy Feasibility Study at Camosun College
Group Representative: Amanda Garner
Additional Group Members: Robert Hewitt and Scott Wise

CAGBC is pleased to announce the winner of The Andy Kesteloo Memorial Project Award for 2022 is the Solar Energy Feasibility Study at Camosun College, prepared and submitted by Amanda Garner on behalf of her team. 

Left to right: Robert Hewitt, Amanda Garner and Scott Wise

The Andy Kesteloo Memorial Project Award is presented in memory of Andy Kesteloo, a visionary green building advocate who shared his commitment for a sustainable earth with humour, insight and passion. The award recognizes a student project that demonstrates leadership, innovation, and a creative vision for the future of sustainable design in the field of green building and communities.

The winning project

The Solar Energy Feasibility Study at Camosun College project is a feasibility study that mapped the solar potential of Camosun’s Lansdowne and Interurban campuses’ rooftops and parking lot areas, undertook in-depth case studies of other large-scale solar projects in the region, and provided supporting information for a grant application to act upon the study’s findings. The objectives of the capstone project were twofold: to identify and quantify the solar radiation potential of both the rooftops and the parking lots at two of Camosun’s campuses and to provide the College with a clear understanding of the potential benefits stemming from a largescale, grid-connected renewable solar energy system.

To accomplish this, Amanda and her team prepared a GIS model in ArcGIS Pro using publicly available LIDAR data to determine the most suitable areas for the installation of large-scale solar arrays on pre-existing rooftops and for future solar canopies to be built over parking lot areas. They mapped out the solar radiation for individual cells accounting for the sun’s geometry, atmospheric effects and surface effects and ran their data through a self-developed Solar Suitability Model to remove areas unsuitable for large-scale solar installations, leaving only the optimal areas on campus. Areas identified by their model was then verified through site visits and further data collection. The amount of solar radiation and annual power production potential was calculated, including the estimated system sizes, system costs and their respective payback periods.

Following their assessment and the modelling of the two Camosun Campuses, Amanda and her team conducted several in-depth case studies of installations across British-Columbia and Alberta to identify key lessons learned and recommendations from these projects to ensure the viability of their proposed plans at Camosun College.

In working with Camosun College’s Facilities Services team and the Alan Batey Library and Learning Commons, Amanda and her team helped prepared an application for the 2022 EBSCO Solar Grant. With the help of data collected from their project, Camosun College was named as one of four winners to receive a $97,000 USD grant that will be used for the installation of solar panels on the roof of the Camosun Library at Lansdowne. The project is estimated to cover 50 percent of the library’s energy use and is slated for completion in spring 2023.

A panel of judges reviewed the award entries and selected this year’s winner due to the quality of the submission, the team’s commitment to sustainability outside of the classroom, and the real-world outcomes of the project. In helping the college secure its grant, the project team demonstrated that anyone can have a direct impact on their community and that innovative technologies can further demonstrate the business case for large-scale solar installations.

Congratulations to the project team!