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UW-Platteville to build state's largest solar array

Wisconsin State Farmer
The solar array is expected to reduce energy costs by 17%, save $217,000 in expenses and reduce carbon emissions by 2,300 tons a year.

University of Wisconsin-Platteville is set to build the state's largest solar array at 2.4 megawatts.

Destined for a five-acre spread of Memorial Park, the array will make the university one of the top on-site renewable energy producers among the nation's higher education institutions, according to a press release. The array is scheduled for completion in fall 2021 and will generate electricity for the school in real-time as it will be directly connected to all 32 campus buildings.

The solar array is expected to reduce energy costs by 17%, save $217,000 in expenses and reduce carbon emissions by 2,300 tons a year.

"We are excited to take this momentous step in our commitment to sustainability," said Chancellor Dennis Shields. "These efforts will save taxpayer money and have a lasting impact on future generations of Pioneers. I am proud that UW-Platteville can serve as a model of innovation and pave the way for other state agencies to follow suit."

The solar array at UW-Platteville will be built on 5 acres of ground in Memorial Park and will be connected to all campus buildings.

A 2018 petition received 300 signatures from UW-Platteville students asking for 100% renewable energy on the Platteville campus by 2030. The solar array is one step toward that goal, with other projects on the way. The array is expected to have a 30-year lifespan with accommodations made for future battery storage.

The project will also provide students with hands-on learning opportunities. Students in renewable and sustainable energy systems courses helped with the project design, and professors have incorporated the array into their courses in multiple ways. The array will even have sheep grazing underneath after research was presented by dairy science students. Environment and conservation students have also developed a native pollinator seeding plan.