Mathison Hall Exterior

Analysis of Photovoltaics for Mathison Hall


A group of students in UCalgary's Energy and Environment, Engingeering 575 course have been analyzing opportunities for photovoltaic (PV) panels in the preliminary Mathison Hall building designs. The project aims to offset GHG emissions produced by the building by exploring different options for installing PV modules. The analysis complements sustainable energy goals and is a crucial step towards the University of Calgary’s Climate Action Plan. A goal for new construction on campus is for buildings to follow the Zero Carbon standard as outlined by Canada Green Building Council. This project is delivered by Alexandra Gutierrez, BSc (Eng)’19, Ashley Wong, BSc (Eng)’20, David Atkins-Apeldoorn, BSc (Eng)’19, Keelan Coombe, BSc (Eng)’19, and Sebastian Lepe, BSc (Eng)’20 under the supervision of Dr. Joule Bergerson.


The result of this project is an in-depth analysis considering all aspects of PV design, consisting of both performance and financial aspects. Solar PV is a renewable energy technology that converts solar radiation into electricity by using n- and p-type semiconductors. By installing mounted panels on the sloped rooftop of Mathison Hall, the student group determined that this design will result in the highest capacity at 81.3kW, and a cost-competitive capacity factor of 17.1% with a low payback period of just over seven years. The option also has a moderate installation cost, however, it optimizes the available surface area which ensures that maximum penetration can be achieved.

Next Steps:

Projects expanding on this one should take seasonality into consideration as the excess power sold back to the grid during summer will be at a lower price than supplemental power bought in the winter. This is due to seasonal fluctuations in the price of electricity.