A Groundwork for Solar Sustainability

15 Dec 2020

This past week, two groups of students from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign presented to Sol Systems regarding their findings through the university’s sustainability minor capstone course. The students conducted an emissions audit for supply chain and land-usage for the university’s second utility-scale solar project, Solar Farm 2.0, a 54-acre, 12.3 MW dc system on the Urbana campus that is being developed by Sol Systems. The presentation and partnership served as part of Sol’s sustainability initiatives and acts as the foundation for building Sol’s framework for future and current solar project developments.

The partnership with the capstone course and its students was fostered through Sol’s Sustainability Task Force (STF) goals to promote tangible, environmental benefits to make our solar projects more sustainable. The supply chain analysis and land-use emissions audit were conducted for Solar Farm 2.0, which is currently under construction. Through their findings, the students presented a carbon audit and recommendations for Sol Systems, building groundwork that will be used for our solar projects moving forward. Solar Farm 2.0 is the first university project of its kind in the United States, incorporating bifacial trackers, pollinator habitats, and zero-waste construction thanks to our engineering, engineering, procurement, and construction partner, Inovateus Solar and Facilities & Services, the primary construction contact and zero-waste manager for the solar farm. This project, along with the presentation by the students, is just the beginning of sustainable initiatives that tandem STF’s framework for sustainability efforts and educational opportunities. Sol Systems plans to incorporate these initiatives into future solar projects.

The partnership and capstone course through University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Sustainability, Energy, and Environment Fellows Program (SEE FP) offers students the ability to apply sustainability assessment tools to real-world situations in tandem with the campus sustainability and community efforts. The campus-wide honors minor is administered by  Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) provides collaboration with six academic units across campus.

For more information about Solar Farm 2.0, check out our interview feature regarding the sustainability aspects of the project.

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Claire Siwulec

Claire Siwulec