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Projects Updates for key objective: 3.3 Expand the Purchase of Clean Energy

  1. News Release - Solar Farm one year anniversary

    Associated Project(s): 

    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:

  2. 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.

  3. Archived - previuos project description

    Associated Project(s): 

    Renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, tides, waves and geothermal heat, which are naturally replenished.  Carbon mitigation efforts need to introduce substantial amounts of clean, renewable energy.  Possibilities include wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass, as well as off-campus renewables.  Investing in renewable energy research and technology can contribute to a reduction in emissions on our campus so that we can meet our future goals.  The U of I will satisfy at least 5 percent of all its electrical energy needs through renewable energy generation systems by 2015, and add more renewable energy sources during the future.

  4. Archived info - previous project background

    Associated Project(s): 

    Renewable energy can supply a considerable amount our energy needs. It also creates many public benefits, including environmental improvement, increased fuel diversity and economic development benefits. Renewable energy produces no anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and reduces some types of air pollution. It also reduces dependence on imported fuels, which increases our national security. Renewable Energy is a secure, local and inexhaustible resource that can also result in lower fuel bills and heating system-running costs.

  5. Renewables presentation to MSTE

    The Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education in the College of Education hosted Morgan Johnston as a guest speaker on February 27.  One part of the overall Climate Action Plan is to increase the use of renewable energy generation for our campus power requirements. This presentation reviewed the progress toward increased use of renewables for our campus, and discussed current efforts underway, including the forthcoming Solar Farm.

  6. Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) purchased for FY15

    Associated Project(s): 
    • PEI bought 20,000,000 kwh for FY15. 
    • They are MISO Wind RECs. 
    • Without Petascale, this represents 5.28% of projected electricity demand. 
    • Including Petascale, this represents 4.25% of projected electricity demand.  
    • A half year of the solar farm would bring this up to 5%.
    • The REC cost was $ 1.25 / MWH for a total of $27,000.
  7. House Bill 2427

    House Bill 2427, once signed by the Governor, will authorize a $30M renewable energy fund in Illinois.

    Replaces everything after the enacting clause. Amends the Illinois Power Agency Act to provide for a supplemental procurement process for the procurement of renewable energy certificates from new or existing photovoltaics. Authorizes the expenditure of up to $30,000,000 from the Illinois Power Agency Renewable Energy Resources Fund for that purpose. Provides that renewable energy certificates from new photovoltaics that are procured pursuant to the supplemental procurement process must be procured from devices installed by a person who meets certain qualifications. Requires public hearings. Provides for a procurement administrator, a procurement monitor, pre-qualification of bidders, establishment of standard contract terms, benchmarks, and contingencies in the event of a default by a supplier. Effective immediately.

  8. data about our avoided electrical costs

    Associated Project(s): 

    To really understand the cost avoidance from clean energy, campus needs to compare the renewable electricity costs to the specific costs for buying electricity from the grid.  To do that we need to know that AMIL.peic is the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign MISO Node.

  9. iCAP completed

    In May 2010, iCAP was completed with the following goals (for the wind project):

    • Goal is to eventually make the U of I carbon neutral by 2050
    • Describes a path toward the fulfillment of the commitment of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (signed by University in 2008)
    • Among the commitment the University is making in order to achieve carbon neutrality goal is renewable energy
    • Target: “Strive to meet the requirements for renewable energy generation in the ILRPS both on campus (priority) and off campus (if necessary) as follows:
      • 5 percent of total campus energy from renewable sources by fiscal year 2015
      • 17.5 percent of total campus energy from renewable sources by fiscal year 2020
      • 25 percent of total campus energy from renewable sources by fiscal year 2025
      • End coal usage at Abbott Power Plant by 2017”
    • Among the 5 strategies to do this: “Install at least three utility-scale wind turbines on the south campus, with a minimum of one to be installed by 2011”
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