CHAMPAIGN, IL (January 20, 2015) – Construction of a 5.87 megawatt (MW) Solar Farm on campus will begin in Spring 2015 after university and state officials approved power purchase and land lease agreements with Phoenix Solar South Farms, LLC.
Once installed, the Solar Farm will be one of the largest on-site university arrays in the country, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency statistics, producing 7.86 million kilowatt-hours per year, or approximately two percent of the electrical demand for the Urbana campus in fiscal year 2015.
Facilities & Services Executive Director Al Stratman said, “We are very pleased to see this long awaited agreement completed and signed, so the installation can begin. This unique and challenging project was only made possible through the dedication of many people working together and focused on achieving our renewable energy goals.”
In 2008, the chancellor signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, pledging to be carbon neutral by 2050. As a part of this commitment, specific goals for energy conservation and renewable energy were outlined in the 2010 Illinois Climate Action Plan. The Solar Farm will contribute toward the renewable energy used on campus for at least twenty years.
"The Solar Farm represents the success of numerous efforts, including those made by the many hard-working students committed to advancing renewable energy and environmental sustainability,” said Amy Liu, chair of the Student Sustainability Committee. “Its construction will be a historic project and a source of great pride for campus."
Established in California in 2010 as the U.S. subsidiary of Phoenix Solar AG, Phoenix Solar Inc. (www.phoenixsolar.us) is a leader in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of solar photovoltaic power plants in North America. Phoenix Solar Inc. will be the contractor for the Solar Farm installation and operation.
Dr. Murray Cameron, CEO & President of Phoenix Solar Inc. said, “We are proud to support the university’s efforts to achieve their renewable energy goals and applaud Illinois for being a leader in sustainability amongst higher education institutions.”
The 20.8 acre solar farm, to be located along the south side of Windsor Road between First Street and the railroad tracks, was first approved by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees in November 2012.
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