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Projects Updates for ECE Rooftop Solar PVs

  1. FY20 Green Power Partnership renewed

    F&S has renewed our campus' recognition as a Green Power Partner for FY20 through the Environmental Protection Agency. This voluntary program promotes the use of green power, and the combined supply for the Champaign-Urbana campus during FY20 was 7.2% of the total electricity usage. 

    Please see the attached file to see a more in-depth look at the green power supplied and generated on campus

  2. 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

     

  3. 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.

  4. Info from Andy Robinson at F&S

    I am on the team that did the Retrocommissioning project in 2018 and I would be happy to share some of our knowledge from that process.  Below is the link to a presentation of that project that we took to a Big Ten energy conference.   Some of our main takeaways are that the combination of chilled beams, dual HX wheels, coil sizing, occupancy ventilation, and thoughtful building pressurization have led to one of the most efficient buildings on campus.  Also, the heat pumps work well to heat/cool with electricity, but would be optimal if there were more of a reheat load, or a hot water loop to send reject heat to a neighboring building in summer, which campus is looking into in certain locations. 

     

    https://www.fs.illinois.edu/services/utilities-energy/energy-conservation/rcx-energy-results

    https://webtest2.fs.illinois.edu/docs/default-source/retro/big10-friends-mechanical-energy-conference-2018-09-30.pdf?sfvrsn=7a85cbea_2

     

    Andy Robinson, LEED-AP, CEM

    DDC Specialist, F&S Energy Services - RCx

  5. Net Metering on campus

    For all of our buildings with renewable energy systems, we employ a net metering method.  We deduct the energy supplied by the system from the building load on the campus grid.  So, if ECE uses about 250,000 kwh of electricity per month, and the rooftop array will supply 10,000 kwh per month, then the net bill for the ECE building will be 240,000 kwh at the campus electricity rate.  Therefore, the building gets full credit for the energy supplied by the array.

  6. Rooftop Solar work to start this summer

    Associated Project(s): 

    The 235,000 GSF facility for the Electrical and Computer Engineering department will integrate instruction and research. This project is to reinforce structural steel members in the building for the future placement of a rooftop solar array. There are 970 modules to install with a total DC power rating of 272 kW.

  7. Project status update

    Associated Project(s): 

    ECE rooftop solar project update:

    1) The original PO bought approximately 500 panels for $240,925.  This was funded with $100K from the DCEO grant, and $140,925 from the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) funding. 

    2) The original funding plan was for a total project cost of $900,000.  It was made up of $225K from the SSC, $250K from DCEO, $100 from the Grainger Center for Engineering, and $325K from the department and college.  When DCEO cut the grant funding with the state budget crisis, the project stalled with just the initial purchase of panels completed.

    3) Current campus project implementation methodology requires this project to go through the Capital Programs process for installation of the panels.  ECE is seeking project funding and approval for the full installation.

    4) ECE has initiated a PO for the remaining 421 panels from a sole source vendor, at a discounted rate. 

  8. Joyce Mast coordinating RFP for the rooftop solar installation

    Associated Project(s): 

    Joyce Mast is coordinating a Request for Purchase to buy and install the solar panels that will go on top of the ECE Building.  The building already has the structural supports for the panels, so the purchase will include the racks, PV panels, and inverters.  Joyce is working with ECE's administrative office, the Purchasing Department, and F&S Capital Programs to facilitate this RFP.

  9. DCEO grant brings building closer to net-zero goal

    Associated Project(s): 

    The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) has awarded a grant of about $250,000 to the Electrical and Computer Engineering Building Solar Panels Project.

    The DCEO grant brings the project’s funding to its goal of $900,000. “This award gives us the final piece that will let us do the solar panels on the building itself,” said Professor Philip Krein, chairman of the ECE Building Committee. ECE ILLINOIS is still seeking funding for the large photovoltaic array that will be placed on the nearby parking structure.

    That array’s power generation, added to power generation from the panels on the building and energy savings from the building’s energy-efficient design, will bring the building’s net-zero energy goal in reach. You can donate a solar panel through the Buy a Bit building wish list.

    • The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) has awarded a grant of about $250,000 for the Electrical and Computer Engineering Building photovoltaic array.
    • The project for the panels on the ECE Building is now fully funded. Funding is still being sought for the large array on the nearby parking garage that will bring the building's net-zero energy goal in reach.
    • The photovoltaic array on the ECE Building will be installed this fall.
    • See the full ECE article for more information.
  10. New ECE Building Project Solar Panels

    The new Electrical and Computer Engineering building (New ECE building) will be operational starting the fall semester of 2014, and will be a unique green building on the University of Illinois campus. It is designed to be the most energy efficient engineering building in the world and is targeting LEED platinum certification, the highest rating for efficiency. With the full planned solar energy complement, the building is projected to achieve net zero energy status. The facility will be one of the two largest net-zero energy buildings in the United States. It will be a facility that supports all its own energy needs – on average over each year – leaving no carbon or fossil consumption footprint. Although the ECE building design itself is intended to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the energy objectives go far beyond this rating to true energy sustainability.

  11. Funding Award and Acceptance Letter_ECE Solar

    The new Electrical and Computer Engineering building (New ECE building) will be operational starting the fall semester of 2014, and will be a unique green building on the University of Illinois campus. It is designed to be the most energy efficient engineering building in the world and is targeting LEED platinum certification, the highest rating for efficiency. With the full planned solar energy complement, the building is projected to achieve net zero energy status. The facility will be one of the two largest net-zero energy buildings in the United States. It will be a facility that supports all its own energy needs – on average over each year – leaving no carbon or fossil consumption footprint. Although the ECE building design itself is intended to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the energy objectives go far beyond this rating to true energy sustainability.

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