SCTE Runs To The Sun

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The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers -- looking to practice what it has been preaching on environmentally sustainable practices -- has installed a rooftop solar-power system at its Exton, Penn., headquarters in partnership with power equipment vendor Alpha Technologies.

The 48-panel system is capable of generating a maximum of 11.28 kilowatts. The system is expected to generate 13,300 kilowatt hours annually, which is roughly the equivalent of 23,866 pounds of carbon dioxide offset annually.

Still, the system largely is something of a showpiece -- the 11.28 kilowatts represent only about 8% of SCTE's power needs. With additional panels, the system could in the future generate as much as 20 kilowatts.

The solar-power system will be used for SCTE's information-technology and communications infrastructure, with any "spillover" electricity generated serving to offset power consumption from the primary electrical grid, according to SCTE president and CEO Mark Dzuban. "With electricity rates due to rise in the near-term, it made good business sense for us to be shifting one of our greatest power draws ‘off the grid,'" he said.

The array also will serve as an educational resource for SCTE's Smart Energy Management Initiative (SEMI), launched earlier this year to provide resources on ways cable can cut energy consumption. The association will host a performance-monitoring system in the SCTE lobby, and will publish solar-power metrics online.

Bellingham, Wash.-based Alpha Technologies develops power equipment for telecommunications and broadband cable industries.

Under SCTE's arrangement with Alpha, the association did not pay for the upfront installation or equipment. Instead, SCTE will pay the equivalent cost of the power generated by the system each month to Alpha until the cost of the infrastructure is paid back in six or seven years, Dzuban said.

"After that, we'll own it outright, and this has a life of 25 to 30 years," he said.

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