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Projects Updates for Solar Farm 1.0

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  1. Site visit with ISU VR Tour creators

    Sol Systems and F&S hosted visitors from Illinois State University today, to initiate development of a Virtual Reality tour of Solar Farm 2.0. The intention is to develop a walking path that will be repeated by the camerawoman at four key timeframes this fall: post installation, tracker installation, module installation, and electrical installation.

  2. Climate Justice Forum youth leaders interview Morgan White at F&S about solar on campus

    CUYSS Team|8/5/2020

    The Youth Climate Justice Forum presents this podcast series in which we will be trying to find ways for all of us to continue to work for climate justice during and after the coronavirus crisis. This week, Caroline and Grace interview Morgan White, Director of Sustainability at University of Illinois Facilities and Services. They are currently working to construct the University’s newest solar farm, building upon what they learned from their last solar project.

    https://youthclimateforum.wixsite.com/summit/podcast/episode/f942d20f/the-day-after-tomorrow-following-advancements-of-the-new-u-of-i-solar-farm

  3. Collaborating with ISU to develop Virtual Tours

    Matt Hagamann from Illinois State University (ISU) is leading a team to develop a Virtual Tour of the University of Illinois Solar Farms. In a July 2020 email, he explained:

    "Our project is funded through the Illinois Science & Energy Innovation Foundation, whose goal is to "address the human and community sides of energy and the electric grid," in our case through energy literacy programs.  Our current programs reach up to 25,000 students each year, but we're working on some digital resources which we hope will expand our impact.

     

    The digital project I would like to collaborate with your office on is a virtual reality project, where we expose students to technology, sustainability, and careers through an immersive experience.  We're targeting both a full VR experience as well as a more limited experience designed for smartphones.

     

    Our goal is to help students explore someplace they wouldn't normally have access to, in this case a solar farm.  After recording some footage using a 360-degree camera, we can let students explore that environment, read some virtual signage, then "tap" some workers on the shoulder in order to learn more about their job."

     

     

  4. Mailbag solar article: Suggestion for UI solar panels

    "Why doesn't the company installing the solar panels at U of I put them over the parking lot? I would provide shade for the cars underneath and would eliminate having to kill whatever would be underneath them in the fields."

    The best option for building solar panels is ground-mounted, said Morgan White, the associate director for sustainability at the University of Illinois.

    "As part of our Climate Leadership Commitments the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a goal of producing at least 25,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) per year from on-campus solar," she said. "When we evaluated options for meeting this goal, rooftop solar, solar over parking areas, and ground-mounted solar were all considered. The most cost-effective option is ground-mounted solar, and it also allows for larger-scale installations.

    "For a sense of the scale, the two solar farms will be a total of 75 acres, while the largest parking lot on campus is less than 15 acres.

    "When installing solar panels over parking areas, there are additional infrastructure and labor costs to raise the solar panels above the ground level. Although we do not currently have any solar over parking areas, Facilities & Services is working with the Parking Department to evaluate potential locations for a pilot installation. We are also continuing to install rooftop solar on individual buildings."

    Solar panels are on the following five Urbana campus buildings:

    — Business Instructional Facility

    — the Activities & Recreation Center

    — Wassaja Residence Hall

    — University High School Gymnasium

    — Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Building.

    "I'd also like to emphasize that the ground-mounted solar panels do not harm the plants under them. After building the first Solar Farm, we learned that there was an excellent opportunity for growing useful plants under and around the panels," said White. "This is a great opportunity for creating a multi-functional ecosystem, with pollinator supportive plants and protected areas for small animals and insects."

    https://www.news-gazette.com/toms-mailbag/toms-mailbag-june-26-2020/article_65ef2976-09b9-526a-848d-1419c905b0ec.html

     

  5. FY19 Green Power Partnership renewal submitted

    F&S completed the renewal of our recognition as a Green Power Partner through the US Environmental Protection Agency. Green Power Partners of our scale now have to use renewable power for seven percent of their annual consumption, an increase from the previous requirement of three percent. Fortunately, the FY19 green power supply for FY19 was 7.28%.  See attached file.

    Overview submitted: The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is proud of its sustainability initiatives, as documented in the Illinois Climate Action Plan. The first project was a 32.76 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) array on the Business Instructional Facility in 2009. The 14.7 kW PV array, ground mounted at the Building Research Council, is a research platform for the Information Trust Institute. The most significant on-campus renewable energy generation project to date went into operation in December 2015, with the completion of the 5.87 megawatt (MW) Solar Farm, producing approximately 7,200 MWh/year. In December 2015 another solar array was installed on the new Wassaja Residence Hall roof with a capacity of 33 kW. In September 2016, campus signed a ten-year Wind Power Purchase Agreement for 25 million kWh/year. Most recently, the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Building had 970 rooftop panels installed. Since production began in April 2019, 11% of all power supplied to the ECE Building has been from the rooftop panels, not including the panels that are used for student-oriented research. The University will soon be home to Solar Farm 2.0, which is projected to produce 20,000 MWh/year, nearly tripling on-site production.

  6. Twin Cities Amateur Radio welcome Solar Farm presentation

    Associated Project(s): 

    Tuesday, January 14th, Morgan White was welcomed by the Twin City Amateur Rado Club to share all there is to know about the University's first solar farm. She spoke on the process of getting such a project on campus, and the good news about a second solar farm that will be on campus by Winter 2020

  7. Cruze Barn new address

    Associated Project(s): 

    The Cruze Barn was moved as part of the agreement with the Student Sustainability Committee for their funding support of the first solar farm. It was moved by Trillium Dell, and it is now located at 316 Leman Lane, Congerville, IL.

  8. Washington Post article: The next money crop for farmers: Solar panels

    The Washington Post published an article on February 22, 2019, about how farmers are making the transition to solar based on current corn and soybean price drops, and the implications of that. Evan DeLucia is quoted in this article.

    See attached or follow the link to read the article.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/the-next-money-crop-for-...

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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