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Projects Updates for Solar Farm 1.0

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  1. Presentation to USGBC student chapter

    Associated Project(s): 
    General Meeting Monday: Morgan Johnston on the new UIUC Solar Farm




    Come join us for our last general meeting! Morgan Johnston, Associate Director of Sustainability with UIUC's Facilities and Services, will discuss the new solar farm which has only recently been connected with UIUC's electrical distribution system. The solar farm, which is the largest array installed on any Big Ten University campus, is expected to produce 7.86 million kilowatt-hours per year, or approximately 2 percent of the average electrical demand for the Urbana campus.

    As always, food will be provided! The meeting will be next Monday, December 7th at 6pm in Newmark 2311

    Contact Dhara Patel at if you have any questions!


  2. 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."

  3. Stevie Jay radio broadcast - tour open to public

    Associated Project(s): 

    Morgan Johnston announced this morning on that the public are welcome to attend a tour of the Solar Farm Thursday after the Ribbon Cutting ceremony.  To attend the tour, be at the iHotel and Conference Center east parking area at 11am.  There is no parking available at the Solar Farm, and it will be very muddy, so the shuttle is the best option for attending the tour.

  4. Ribbon Cutting scheduled for Thursday

    Associated Project(s): 

    Completion of the 5.87 megawatt Solar Farm is a historic moment for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and renewable energy generation on campus. An invitation-only ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at the Solar Farm site on November 19 at 10:30 a.m. to recognize the accomplishment.

    University and campus administration, Facilities & Services staff, Student Sustainability Committee representatives, and project partners from Rockwell Financial and Phoenix Solar Inc. LLC are scheduled to be in attendance.

    The Solar Farm is expected to produce 7.86 million kilowatt-hours per year or approximately two percent of the average electrical demand for the Urbana campus. 

    The electricity which will be generated by the Solar Farm is a significant step in meeting long-term Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) targets and achieving carbon neutrality as soon as possible, and no later than 2050.

  5. Chicago Radio News

    Associated Project(s): 

    A mention about the Solar Farm project (see submission below) will be read on Chicago radio (popular morning show) in September as a part of the university’s branding/marketing efforts.


    Did you know the U of I is building a 20 acre Solar Farm on campus this year that will be one of the largest university solar arrays in the nation?   It will produce enough electricity yearly to power 700 typical U.S. homes.  Just another cool fact brought to you by the U of I.

  6. news mention

    Associated Project(s): 

    Nice Solar Farm reference in this article about Ohio University….

    “We can learn from and be inspired by these models. Meanwhile, other schools also developing significant solar energy projects, such as University of Maryland (2 MW), Rochester Institute of Technology (2 MW), Elon University (3 MW), University of Illinois (5.87 MW), and Pennsylvania State University (the class of 2015 is holding a solar-array design contest to determine its gift to PSU).”

  7. Media Hits

  8. Solar Farm Agreements Signed

    Associated Project(s): 

    CHAMPAIGN, IL (January 20, 2015) –  Construction of a 5.87 megawatt (MW) Solar Farm on campus will begin in Spring 2015 after university and state officials approved power purchase and land lease agreements with Phoenix Solar South Farms, LLC.

    See the attached release, fact sheet, and poster for more details.

  9. Previous iCAP Portal overview

    Associated Project(s): 

    To increase the use of renewable energy sources for campus electrical needs and meet the commitments set by the 2010 Climate Action Plan, the University of Illinois issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a firm to design, build, operate, and maintain (DBOM) a Solar Farm at the Urbana campus with a corresponding Power Purchase Agreement.  The Solar Farm will be connected directly to the University’s electrical distribution system in parallel with the electrical service provided by the local utility.

    The University provides electricity, chilled water, and steam service to more than 50,000 people (faculty, staff and students) who work, learn, and/or live on the campus.  The electricity generated from campus is delivered to the campus via the University’s owned and operated distribution system.  Although the University’s grid is connected to the local utility transmission and distribution system, which receives transmission services from the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO), the University will use all of the electricity generated from the solar farm project.


    The University is seeking a proposal to lease 21 acres of land in the South Farms area, for the installation and operation of a Solar Farm.  The University will lease the land to the selected Proposer for $1.00 per year and establish a Power Purchase Agreement for the renewable energy.  The Proposer will be responsible for design, construction, permitting, transportation needs, operation, and maintenance of the Solar Farm, as well as connection to the University’s electrical grid.


  10. Phoenix will comply with US Steel requirements

    Associated Project(s): 

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Borkowski, Joe []
    Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 2:11 PM
    To: Johnston, Morgan B; Dempsey, John Garrett
    Subject: U.S. Steel use for University solar


    This email is to attest Phoenix Solar will comply with Illinois and Federal Buy American procurement provisions.  For the purpose of clarity, Phoenix Solar will ensure the steel that is used on this system will be procured and manufactured in the United States.

    I look forward to speaking soon.

    Best regards,

    Joe Borkowski

  11. Update from Justin Johnston at UI Purchasing

    Associated Project(s): 

    Justin Johnston confirmed that the answers to all the State Purchasing Officer's questions have been sent to Steve Rotello, the State Purchasing Officer.  Justin is working to set a meeting with the SPO, Justin, and Morgan Johnston to review the current status of this approval.

  12. Land Use Data for US Solar Farms

    Associated Project(s): 

    National Renewable Energy Laboratories conducted research into solar land use requirements, but were unable to find a comprehensive evaluation from the literature. NREL created this report to analyze data related to land use in large solar arrays. The paragraph below explains the efficiency of land by type of solar project, and the link takes you directly to the report.

    Generation-weighted averages for total area requirements range from about 3 acres/GWh/yr for CSP towers and CPV installations to 5.5 acres/GWh/yr for small 2-axis flat panel PV power plants. Across all solar technologies, the total area generation-weighted average is 3.5 acres/GWh/yr with 40% of power plants within 3 and 4 acres/GWh/yr. For direct-area requirements the generation-weighted average is 2.9 acres/GWh/yr, with 49% of power plants within 2.5 and 3.5 acres/GWh/yr. On a capacity basis, the total-area capacity-weighted average is 8.9 acres/MWac, with 22% of power plants within 8 and 10 acres/MWac. For direct land-use requirements, the capacity-weighted average is 7.3 acre/MWac, with 40% of power plants within 6 and 8 acres/MWac. Other published estimates of solar direct land use generally fall within these ranges.

  13. Solar Farm pending State Purchasing Officer (SPO) approval

    Associated Project(s): 

    The Solar Farm Purchase Agreement is waiting on approval from the State Purchasing Officer (SPO).  After the Board of Trustees approval in November 2012, the project went to the SPO's office.  It is now under review and Facilities & Services is working to answer any SPO questions.

  14. Purchasing met with SPO

    Associated Project(s): 

    From: Milbrandt, Janet
    Sent: Monday, July 01, 2013 1:33 PM
    To: Dempsey, John Garrett
    Cc: Johnston, Morgan B
    Subject: RE: solar farm

    Justin met with Steve Rotello on Friday, 6/30/2013.  We are meeting later today to discuss the results. 


    From: Dempsey, John Garrett
    Sent: Monday, July 01, 2013 1:26 PM
    To: Milbrandt, Janet
    Cc: Johnston, Morgan B
    Subject: solar farm

    Can you provide me with and updated status of this important procurement.