The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2008, pledging to be carbon neutral as soon as possible. As a part of this commitment, the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) was developed to outline energy conservation and renewable energy goals including the use of solar power and renewable energy credits.
In November 2012, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved construction of a 20.8-acre solar farm to be located along the south side of Windsor Road between First Street and the railroad tracks. Initial construction was delayed due to changes in State of Illinois procurement laws.
Phoenix Solar South Farms LLC was hired by the university in 2015 to design, build, and operate the Solar Farm at the Windsor Road site. The Solar Farm will produce an estimated 7.86 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually or approximately 2% of the FY15 electrical demand for the Urbana campus making this site one of the largest university solar arrays in the country.
The university signed a 10-year power purchase agreement with Phoenix Solar to purchase all electricity produced by the Solar Farm and deliver it directly to the campus grid. In addition, the university will own/receive all current and future Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and emission credits associated with energy from the 4.68 megawatt (MW) Solar Farm.
Research estimates the Solar Farm will generate up to 91% of its original output even in year 20 of the project.
A Solar Farm Dashboard by AlsoEnergy will provide hourly information on the solar array’s renewable energy production and impact to campus as well as solar data for research and education.
Solar Farm Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
With the November sun reflecting off 18,867 solar panels, Executive Director of Facilities & Services Al Stratman welcomed President Timothy Killeen, Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson, Board of Trustees member Karen Hasara, and other project partners to celebrate the historic completion of the university’s first utility-scale solar array. [more]
Solar Farm Construction August – November 2015