Loan Flips Switch on Desert Research Institute Solar Project


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Scott Kelley
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Carson City, Nevada - December 23, 2013

A gleaming array of new solar panels now occupies the Desert Research Institute's (DRI) Reno campus, thanks in part to a $300,000 Governor's Office of Energy (GOE) loan that helped fund a portion of a 437 kW solar project. 

The five-year loan at 3% interest was awarded to the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents on behalf of DRI, as part of the GOE revolving loan program. This program provides loans for projects that develop or expand renewable energy systems, energy efficiency projects, energy conservation, and manufacturing of components for renewable energy systems in Nevada.  

"This solar project fits perfectly into the core GOE mission of ensuring the wise development of our state's energy resources and local economic needs," said Paul Thomsen, GOE Director. "This project not only put Nevadans to work but allows the Nevada System of Higher Education to focus funding where it matters most."

The DRI project includes a solar parking shade structure and roof mounted system, that are estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.8 million pounds of CO2 annually, which is the same amount produced by 170 passenger vehicles in one year. The project generated seven full-time jobs and will provide more than $80,000 in savings annually to DRI's electrical costs.  

"DRI is very grateful for the support provided by the Governor's Office of Energy to make this project a reality," said Dr. Stephen Wells, DRI President. "Because of this loan and the generous support from the NV Energy Solar Generations Program, State Public Works Board and Attorney General's Office, we are on our way to nearly 40% renewable power on our Las Vegas and Reno campuses and we're showcasing what can be done with renewables in our State."   

The GOE decision to provide the loan highlights the office's ability to facilitate cooperation among stakeholders, lead initiatives to stimulate economic development, and attract energy-related business ventures that include site development, generation and production, and the transmission and transportation of energy.  

GOE is currently accepting applications for qualifying energy projects. To learn more, please visit GOE's Revolving Loans Program.

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About the Governor’s Office of Energy

The Governor’s Office of Energy oversees energy programs required through statute and those that help to meet the mission of the office, which is to ensure the wise development of Nevada’s energy resources in harmony with local community economic needs and Nevada natural resources. For more information about GOE, please visit www.energy.nv.gov.  

About Desert Research Institute

DRI, the nonprofit research campus of the Nevada System of Higher Education, strives to be the world leader in environmental sciences through the application of knowledge and technologies to improve people’s lives throughout Nevada and the world. For more information about DRI, please visit www.dri.edu.