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October 6, 2016
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Home > Capturing The Power of the Sun
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The University looks to on-site renewable energy generation as a means to reduce our carbon footprint and stabilize electricity costs.
On September 27, 2011, the 385-kilowatt solar photo-voltaic installation at the College Park parking garage in the north lot began using energy from the sun, while providing shade to parked vehicles and a free public charging station for electric vehicles. The 1,638-panel installation covers approximately 28,732 square feet of space, equivalent to half a football field. At the time of completion, the carport-style installation was the second largest non-utility solar array in Texas. The $2.2 million project was entirely funded through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant and $400,000 in incentives from the Oncor Solar PV Program. The system is projected to return between $4,000 and $5,000 in monthly utility savings.
In the first year of operation, the solar installation exceeded production expectations by 20 percent, generating approximately 510,000 kilowatt hours of electricity. The University is also a Green Power Partner with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The partnership was awarded for the University’s purchase of renewable energy credits equal to 3.5 million kWh of renewable energy generation. The RECs were applied to the Engineering Research Building’s energy use, avoiding more than 3.9 million pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from traditionally generated sources.