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.