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Projects Updates for Solar Farm 1.0

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  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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:

  8. News Gazette Mailbag question about Solar Farm

    Associated Project(s):

    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:

  9. 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.

  10. 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.