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Projects Updates for Solar Farm

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  1. Morgan Johnston speaks to Parkland Board of Trustees

    In support of installing solar PVs at Parkland College, Morgan Johnston spoke to the Parkland College Board of Trustees, as requested by their VP of Institutional Advancement and Sustainability Coordinator.  Ms. Johnston shared the benefits and lessons learned from the university's solar farm installation.

  2. Correction to system generation capacity

    Associated Project(s): 

    The Solar Farm system capacity is 4.68 MWac and 5.87 MWdc. Original materials produced before 2017 generally referred to the capacity as 5.87 MW, which does not match the industry standard of using the AC generation capacity.  The correct figure to use is 4.68 MW, when sharing information about the Solar Farm on the UIUC South Farms.

  3. News Release - Solar Farm one year anniversary

    In its first year of commercial operation from December 11, 2015, to December 10, 2016, the Solar Farm generated 7,284 megawatt-hours (MWh) of clean, renewable energy for the Urbana campus, successfully meeting expectations.

    solar farmUnder a 10-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Phoenix Solar South Farms, LLC, the university acquires all of the power generated by the Solar Farm and all associated renewable energy credits and carbon credits. Notable first-year production achievements of the Solar Farm include:

    • Provided 1.95% of projected FY17 annual electricity consumption1
    • Supplied almost 14% of the campus electrical demand at noon on April 3, 2016
    • Delivered 900 MWh of power to the campus grid in June 2016, the highest month of production
    • Frequently generated over 4 MW of power; system capacity is 4.68 MWac
    • Reduced the campus carbon footprint by more than 6,000 metric tons of CO2e

    The Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP), the Urbana campus’ strategic sustainability plan, set a goal of obtaining at least 120,000 MWh of power per year from low-carbon sources by FY20. With the Solar Farm’s electrical production and the university’s wind PPA with Rail Splitter Wind Farm LLC, the campus is 25% of the way toward meeting this goal.

    Hourly information on the Solar Farm’s energy production and impact to campus since first-connected in November 2015 is available at: http://go.illinois.edu/solar.

  4. News Gazette Mailbag question about Solar Farm

    Associated Project(s): 

    http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2016-08-26/toms-mailbag-aug-26-20...

    UI solar farm
     

    “The solar panel field located near the corner of Windsor Road and First Street has become overgrown with tall weeds. Do the panels still work with that much foliage under and above them? Also, would hiring sheep or goats to ‘mow’ the weeds be harmful to the sheep or goat (heat from the panels)?”

    The Solar Farm on the University of Illinois campus was implemented as a power purchase and land lease agreement with Phoenix Solar South Farms, LLC, said Steve Breitwieser of the UI’s Facilities & Services Department.

    “The agreements designate Phoenix as responsible for all maintenance of the Solar Farm during the 10-year contract, and this includes vegetation control.

    “A contractor hired by Phoenix was on site in mid-June, and they are performing additional weed control activities this week.”

    When the agreement with Phoenix ends, Breitwieser said, the UI will assume Solar Farm maintenance responsibilities.

    And — how about this? — preliminary discussions have begun with research faculty regarding the use of sheep or low-height food crops in the future, he said.

    Meanwhile, neighboring plant growth has not impacted solar production, said Breitwieser.

    Solar array data can be viewedat: http://go.illinois.edu/solar.

  5. Renewable Energy Program award application

    F&S submitted an application for the 2016 Illinois Governor's Sustainability Award, on behalf of the Renewable Energy Program on campus and the Solar Farm.  The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is proud of its sustainability initiatives, and Facilities & Services (F&S) is honored to support the campuswide Illinois Climate Action Plan. One of the most important and challenging initiatives is a shift from conventional energy to a future of renewable energy.

    F&S is submitting this application to the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award for the Renewable Energy Program and specifically the new 20-acre Solar Farm. Five major Renewable Energy Program projects have been implemented since signing the Climate Commitment in 2008. The first Renewable Energy Program project was a 32.76 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) array on the roof of the Business Instructional Facility. The 14 kW PV array at the Building Research Council is a research platform for the Illinois Center for Smarter Electricity Grid. Solar thermal panels on the Activities and Recreation Center roof heat the swimming pools. The fourth project was the purchase of 20,000 Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from Midwest Independent Systems Operators (MISO) wind power in April 2014. The most significant project went into commercial operation in December 2015, with the completion of the 5.87 megawatt (direct current) Solar Farm. The Solar Farm will produce an estimated 7,860 megawatt-hours annually and is expected to generate up to 91% of its original output even in Year 20 of the project. F&S is monitoring the efficiency of the Solar Farm, compared to the design specifications, and in February 2016 the Solar Farm produced 100.2% of the anticipated electricity for that month.

  6. Archived - previous project description

    Associated Project(s): 

    Construction of a 5.87 megawatt (MW) Solar Farm on campus is under construction, 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."

    --

    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.

  7. Presentation to USGBC student chapter

    Associated Project(s): 
    General Meeting Monday: Morgan Johnston on the new UIUC Solar Farm

     

     

    Come join us for our last general meeting! Morgan Johnston, Associate Director of Sustainability with UIUC's Facilities and Services, will discuss the new solar farm which has only recently been connected with UIUC's electrical distribution system. The solar farm, which is the largest array installed on any Big Ten University campus, is expected to produce 7.86 million kilowatt-hours per year, or approximately 2 percent of the average electrical demand for the Urbana campus.

    As always, food will be provided! The meeting will be next Monday, December 7th at 6pm in Newmark 2311

    Contact Dhara Patel at dhara.x.patel@gmail.com if you have any questions!

     

  8. Archived - previous project description

    Associated Project(s): 

    Construction of a 5.87 megawatt (MW) Solar Farm on campus is under construction, 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."

  9. Stevie Jay radio broadcast - tour open to public

    Associated Project(s): 

    Morgan Johnston announced this morning on ESPNcu.com that the public are welcome to attend a tour of the Solar Farm Thursday after the Ribbon Cutting ceremony.  To attend the tour, be at the iHotel and Conference Center east parking area at 11am.  There is no parking available at the Solar Farm, and it will be very muddy, so the shuttle is the best option for attending the tour.

  10. Ribbon Cutting scheduled for Thursday

    Associated Project(s): 

    Completion of the 5.87 megawatt Solar Farm is a historic moment for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and renewable energy generation on campus. An invitation-only ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at the Solar Farm site on November 19 at 10:30 a.m. to recognize the accomplishment.

    University and campus administration, Facilities & Services staff, Student Sustainability Committee representatives, and project partners from Rockwell Financial and Phoenix Solar Inc. LLC are scheduled to be in attendance.

    The Solar Farm is expected to produce 7.86 million kilowatt-hours per year or approximately two percent of the average electrical demand for the Urbana campus. 

    The electricity which will be generated by the Solar Farm is a significant step in meeting long-term Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) targets and achieving carbon neutrality as soon as possible, and no later than 2050.

  11. Chicago Radio News

    Associated Project(s): 

    A mention about the Solar Farm project (see submission below) will be read on Chicago radio (popular morning show) in September as a part of the university’s branding/marketing efforts.

    UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA - CHAMPAIGN

    Did you know the U of I is building a 20 acre Solar Farm on campus this year that will be one of the largest university solar arrays in the nation?   It will produce enough electricity yearly to power 700 typical U.S. homes.  Just another cool fact brought to you by the U of I.

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