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Renewable Energy Projects
This list includes the key renewable energy projects and ideas, as of July 2015.
Below this project collection listing is a map showing the projects which have a location. Please scroll to the bottom to see it.
|Education||Illinois Solar Decathlon||Ongoing||
Who We Are
Illinois Solar Decathlon is an interdisciplinary registered student organization with over 60 undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We compete in the international, Department of Energy-sponsored Solar Decathlon Build and Solar Decathlon Design competitions. Illinois Solar Decathlon is comprised of an executive board, a build competition team, a design competition team, and a concept team, which fosters skills and knowledge development for younger organization members.
|Energy||BIF Rooftop Solar PVs||Completed||
The Business Instructional Facility was the first production rooftop solar PV array installed on a campus building. There are 168 panels with 190 Watts per panel, for a total system size of 32kW. The college has a website that shows the solar output of this system by day, and another site that shows the annual output.
See also, the individual arrays.
|Energy||Biomass Boiler at the Energy Farm||Completed||
For many years, the UI has grown significant quantities of biomass plant products at the Energy Farm on South Farms. There have been a few preliminary attempts to identify a post-research use for this material, including the cancelled Vet Med Combined Heat and Power (CHP) project and a study of the compatibility with existing boilers at Abbott Power Plant. Meanwhile the biomass material continues to be stockpiled at the Energy Farm. This project is looking to convert the existing (and future) biomass from the Energy Farm into power for the on-site Energy Farm facility.
|Energy||Biomass use on Campus||Ongoing||
Biomass energy is produced from organic materials, such as wood chips or miscanthus. The Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research (CABER) focuses on bioenergy systems research, and F&S Energy Services is reviewing options for integrating biomass fuel sources into campus energy production.
|Energy||ECE Net-Zero Energy Building||In Progress||
The ECE Building acheived LEED platinum certification in November 2019, and it is striving for a net-zero energy certification. From a vast array of photovoltaic cells, to a chilled beam system to cool and heat the classroom tower, ECE wil accomplish a major campus addition with maximum space and minimal carbon footprint.
Excerpt from the ECE building website:
|Energy||ECE Rooftop Solar PVs||In Progress||
The new ECE building is designed to include Solar Panels on its roof. The panels will provide about 11% of the building's energy needs. The infrastructure for connecting these panels to the building electric supply was included in the original design and construction costs for the full building, while the solar panels themselves were funded separately. This specific project is to have a series of photovoltaic solar arrays on the roof of the building with a 300 kW peak power rating, capable of generating an estimated 470 MWh of electricity annually.
|Energy||Explore Options for 100 Percent Clean Campus Energy||In Progress||
The 2015 iCAP, chapter 3, objective 1 is "The Energy Generation, Purchasing, and Distribution SWATeam, in collaboration with Facilities & Services and topical Consultation Groups, will lead an exploration of options for 100% clean campus energy during FY16 and submit recommendations through the formal sustainability process." The campus community has considerable intellectual resources that can be brought to bear on the future of energy generation, purchasing, and distribution. The
|Energy||Geothermal at Allerton Park||Completed||
Allerton Park was able to install a geothermal energy system at the Evergreen Lodge, with funding from the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). There are opportunities for future installations of geothermal energy, when funding allows.
|Energy||Geothermal Monitoring Well on Bardeen Quad||Ongoing||
Campus researchers are installing a geothermal monitoring well in the northwest corner of the John Bardeen Quad during December 2018. The borehole will be 450 feet deep and it will allow campus to investigate the applicability of using geothermal heat exchange at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
|Energy||Geothermal on Campus||Ongoing||
Geothermal energy is thermal energy stored in the Earth that humans can extract, process and then use. Geothermal energy is cost effective, reliable, and sustainable, but has historically been limited to areas near tectonic plate boundaries. Recent technological advances have expanded the range and size of viable resources, especially for applications such as home heating. Geothermal wells release greenhouse gases trapped in the earth, but these emissions are much lower than those of fossil fuels.
|Energy||Green Allerton Wood-fired Boiler||Completed||
An Outdoor Wood-fired Boiler system was funded to replace a natural gas heating system at Allerton Park. By replacing the previous system, CO2 emissions will be eliminated and there will be a substantial cost savings. The use of a renewable resource (wood), obtained from landscape management at the park grounds in place of a non-renewable one (natural gas), combined with the greenhouse gas emissions reduction will help increase campus sustainability. The Student Sustainability Committee Granted the project $25,500.
|Energy||Ground Mounted Solar PVs BRC Research Test Bed||Completed||
Implementation of the Solar Research Test Bed is an important part of the research scope of the Illinois Center for a Smarter Electric Grid (ICSEG). ICSEG’s research mission is to support the continuing development of the Smart Grid through research that tests and validates the trustworthiness (secure, reliable, private, resilient) of new components and systems that will be required to realize the full potential of the Smart Grid, and renewable energy systems such as wind and solar are critical to realizing this vision.
|Energy||Install Solar PVs on NCPD||Proposed||
The goal of the ECE (Electrical and Computer Engineering Building project is to achieve Platinum LEED standards and be net zero for outside energy consumption. To meet that goal, engineers have proposed the use of solar panels atop the ECE building to offset the building’s energy consumption. Complexities of building design have resulted in the building being unable to support a sufficient number of solar arrays to generate the energy required to offset the building’s energy consumption.
|Energy||Methane Capture on Campus||Proposed||
The 2015 iCAP, chapter 6, objective 3, is "Utilize landfills with methane capture." Methane is one of the worst greenhouse gases, and this university has a number of methane producers on South Farms. There are beef cows, dairy cows, sheep, pigs, horses, and chickens. One of the strategies listed in the iCAP to reduce agricultural emissions is to install a methane capture process for additional energy generation by 2020, with a pilot project by 2015.
|Energy||Off-campus Solar Farm 3.0 PPA||Proposed||
To reach our 2015 iCAP objective of 140,000 MWh per year of clean energy usage, we will need to increase our off-campus procurement of clean energy by 90,000 MWh/year. One proposed solution is to enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with an off-campus solar developer. This potential project is often called "Solar Farm 3.0" and discussions are ongoing about the costs and benefits of this proposal.
|Energy||Power Purchase Agreements for Clean Energy||Ongoing||
The University purchases about half the electricity for campus through the wholly owned subsidiary of the University, Prairieland Energy Incorporated. In the 2010 iCAP, we committed to being carbon-neutral by 2050. The majority of campus emissions can be eliminated by implementing more sustainable practices and integrating renewable energy sources for the campus energy supply. One option for integrating renewable energy sources is to purchase green power through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
|Energy||PPA for National Petascale Computing Facility||In Progress||
The 2015 iCAP, chapter 3, objective 4, is "Offset all emissions from the National Petascale Computing Facility (and other successor facilities) by the conclusion of the current period of National Science Foundation support." Petascale is under the purview of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), reporting to the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research.
|Energy||Rooftop Solar Potential||Completed||
One potential method for acheiving the 2015 iCAP goal for on-campus solar is to retrofit existing campus buildings with rooftop solar. The amount of sun shine on each roof, the viability of the building itself, and the funding mechanisms all need to be reviewed and resolved for this idea to be implemented. The viability for each building includes approval from the Architectural Review Committee, agreement of the building occupant facility leaders, and structural and electrical viability for the building. As of 2016, the financial payback for solar photovoltaics is not strong enough to ea
|Energy||Solar Energy on Campus||Ongoing||
The 2015 iCAP, chapter 3, objective 2 is "Expand on-campus solar energy production. By FY20, produce at least 12,500 MWh/year, and by FY25 at least 25,000 MWh/year, from solar installations on campus property." Commonly used solar technologies are solar photovoltaics for electricity, solar thermal water heating, and passive solar design for space heating and cooling.
|Energy||Solar Farm 1.0||Completed||
The 20.8 acre Solar Farm on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign South Farms is a Power Purchase Agreement with Phoenix Solar South Farms, LLC, producing an estimated 7, 864 MWh/year of solar energy used solely by the Urbana campus.
|Energy||Solar Farm 2.0||In Progress||
In order to reach the iCAP objective of 25,000 MWh/year of solar energy by FY25, additional panels will need to be installed. Large scale, ground mounted panels appear to be the least expensive route towards achieving the FY25 objective.
|Energy||Solar PVs at Idea Garden||In Progress||
The Idea Garden currently lacks access to electricity, making garden maintenance a challenge. Since the Idea Garden’s mission statement is “helping others learn to grow,” the volunteer-led team only wants sustainable infrastructure added to its garden.
|Energy||Solar Thermal at ARC||Completed||
The 24-panel, gravity fed solar-thermal system on the roof of the ARC preheats domestic cold water prior to its introduction into the steam-powered heat exchanger for domestic hot water, which significantly reduces steam usage for domestic hot water during normal operating periods. There are three main areas of hot water usage (domestic, pool, and air heating), but domestic (i.e. showers and sinks) represents the most pressing need and efficient use of solar technology.
|Energy||SSC Solar Feasibility Study||Completed||
The Student Sustainability Committee commissioned a solar photovoltaic study to determine viable buildings for the installation of solar arrays. The new solar arrays would complement the existing 3,700 square foot Solar PV array located atop the Business Instructional Facility that produces approximately 55,000 kWh/year and help define the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign as a leader in the greening of campuses nationwide.
|Energy||Uni High Gym Rooftop Solar PVs||Completed||
The University of Illinois Laboratory High School (Uni) received grant funding from Illinois Clean Energy Fund (ICECF) through its
|Energy||Use Renewable / Low-carbon / Clean Energy||In Progress||
The 2015 iCAP, chapter 3, objective 3, is "Expand the purchase of clean energy. By FY20, obtain at least 120,000 MWh, and by FY25 at least 140,000 MWh from low-carbon energy sources.
|Energy||Wassaja Hall Rooftop Solar PVs||Completed||
Scheduled to open in fall 2016, Wassaja Hall was named after the University's first Native American graduate and a pioneer in advocating for Native American rights. A 30 kW solar PV array was installed on December 14, 2015 on the east side of the roof.
|Energy||Wind Energy on Campus||Proposed||
A renewable portfolio standard, passed in 2007, has supported wind power in Illinois, which required 10% renewable energy from electric companies in 2010 and 25% by 2025. At the end of 2011, Illinois had 2743 megawatts (MW) of wind power installed. Illinois has the potential for installing up to 10,000 MW of wind generation capacity; in 2009, it ranked sixth among states for installed wind turbine capacity.
|Energy||Wind Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)||Completed||
From November 2016 through October 2026, the Urbana campus will receive a percentage-based portion of the wind-generated electricity and associated environmental attributes from the Rail Splitter Wind Farm located north of Lincoln, Illinois. The power purchase agreement (PPA) specifies that 8.6% of the total wind generation from the farm will be sold to the university, which is expected to be an annual amount of more than 25,000 megawatt-hours (MWh).
|Reporting Progress||EPA Green Power Partner||Ongoing||
The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use. The Partnership currently has more than 1,300 Partner organizations voluntarily using billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually.
|Outreach||Solar Urbana-Champaign||In Progress||
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is helping to promote and encourage participation in the Solar Urbana-Champaign program.