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Projects Updates for Topic: renewables


  1. eGen007 recommendation for second solar farm

    Attached is a recommendation submitted by the EGEN SWATeam for consideration. We believe this recommendation will advance sustainability goals set forth by the 2015 iCAP.

    The EGEN SWATeam appreciates any feedback resulting from consideration of this recommendation.

  2. 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:

  3. archived info - previous project description

    Associated Project(s): 

    The campus is investigating options for a Wind Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).  There are various potential energy providers, and the costs of such power is currently unknown.  Therefore, the UI is starting with a Request for Information (RFI) which will give campus decision makers an idea of the cost of the wind energy.  Once the information is received, the UI may elect to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP), which would be the first step toward signing a Wind PPA.

  4. 2015 iCAP solar objective and strategies

    Associated Project(s): 

    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."

    The 2015 iCAP also described the following potential strategies for achieving this objective:

    "2. Expand On-Campus Solar Energy Production

    The campus has a 33 kW photovoltaic array on the roof of the Business Instructional Facility (with an annual production of 44 MWh/yr) and a 14.7 kW ground-mounted array at the Building Research Lab (20 MWh/yr).  During FY15, we began installation of a 300 kW array on the roof of the new Electrical and Computer Engineering Building (402 MWh/yr), and the 5.87 MW Solar Farm on the south campus (7,860 MWh/yr). There is also a solar thermal array on the roof of the Activities and Recreation Center.  There are many other buildings, parcels of land, and parking lots that are well positioned to host sizeable photovoltaic and/or solar thermal arrays.  Although each array in itself would make a small contribution to campus energy generation, taken together the contribution could be significant.

    Identify best solar locations and implement solar projects

    The solar consultation group is identifying the best places to install the next round of photovoltaic projects, and planning to move forward on several projects simultaneously.  Solar thermal may make sense in some situations, as well.  Student design teams could be organized through classes and volunteer groups to assist with the planning and prioritizing of on-campus solar installations.

    Require solar PV on rooftops for new construction and major renovations

    The best time to plan for the installation of photovoltaics on a building is during the design phase.  The campus could implement standards requiring that all new construction and additions include solar photovoltaics on the roof.   In some cases it may also be effective to install photovoltaics on the exterior walls of the buildings."

  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.