Boosting Solar Energy at UNMC

Miller Electric is helping boost solar energy in Omaha, thanks to a partnership between OPPD and UNMC.

As the Omaha World Herald reported last fall, the largest rooftop solar array in Nebraska was recently installed atop the roofs of the Michael F. Sorrell Center for Health Science Education, the Truhlsen Eye Institute and the Harold M. and Beverly Maurer Center for Public Health.

Solar Array Creates Solar Energy Equivalent of 60 Homes

The project, which was designed by Morrissey Engineering, will create 500 kilowatts of solar energy capacity, which is equal to the average amount of electricity used each year by about 60 homes.

It’s all part of UNMC and Nebraska Medicine’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2030. To achieve that ambitious goal, all the power it relies on must come from renewable energy sources it produces.

The project, which was funded in part by OPPD, should recoup its costs within about 10 years.

Miller Electric Wins RFP to Wire Solar Panels

“Because OPPD was involved, contractors who wanted to participate had to respond to a detailed RFP,” says Miller Electric Project Manager Roger Knobbe. “Miller Electric was the only commercial electrical contractor that met all the prerequisites for wiring the solar energy panels.”

While Boyd Jones Construction installed the solar panels, Miller Electric performed the wiring. “That involved wiring the solar panels to a converter box that channels the solar power into the electrical grid to help power the hospital,” says Knobbe.

As the World Herald reported, an interesting facet of the project is that all the solar energy produced by the rooftop solar array will stay on the UNMC campus, powering the building they sit atop and then powering other campus buildings. UNMC expects the source of renewable energy to reduce its energy consumption by a few percent.

Miller Electric has participated in other green building initiatives, notably TD Ameritrade’s Headquarters, but this project provided an opportunity to be part of a specifically solar energy project.

“Nebraska Medicine is a long-standing customer,” says Knobbe. “We’ve had the pleasure of helping them update electrical equipment and infrastructure, as well as a variety of projects, so it was particularly satisfying to win the bid to help wire their solar array.”

We look forward to more opportunities to help harness and apply the power of solar energy for Omaha businesses in the months and years to come.