DRI installs solar panel system on Reno campus

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DRI installs solar panel system on Reno campus

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Desert Research Institute

The Desert Research Institute has installed a system of solar panels on rooftops and in the parking lot of its Reno campus.

The Desert Research Institute has installed a system of solar panels on rooftops and in the parking lot of its Reno campus.

With this newest project completed, the DRI now has six solar panel systems statewide generating more than a megawatt of electricity.

DRI spokesman Justin Broglio says the initiative started five years ago and has grown rapidly.

"In 2009, solar panels were a lot more expensive than they are now, and really, we've ramped up in the last two years because of the price reduction and the capability to do this."

Combined, the systems generate enough electricity to power nearly 170 average American homes and they reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 3.6 million pounds per year.

By next fall, Broglio says DRI plans to install even more systems, creating an additional megawatt of power.

"We're estimating over $160,000 in cost savings annually with just these six systems and possibly doubling that with the additional megawatt we have planned by fall of 2014."

DRI received a $300,000 loan from the Governor's Office of Energy to help complete the most recent Reno project and has five years to pay the funds back.