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The 2021-22 academic year is shaping up to be an exciting one, as students and faculty across the country are expected to return to campus as the country puts the COVID-19 pandemic in the rearview mirror.
When occupants come back to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville campus in fall, they will return to a solar-powered campus thanks to an effort inspired largely by the students.
The school is constructing a 2.4 megawatt solar array that will make the campus, located in southwest Wisconsin near the Iowa border, the sixth-highest on-site producer of renewable energy among higher education institutions in the country, according to a school press release. The array is expected to be ready for the fall semester.
Platteville’s solar array will connect to the main electricity meter that feeds into the 32 on-campus buildings. The conversion to solar power is expected to offset electricity by 17 percent and save the school $217,000 annually and reduce carbon emissions by 2,300 tons per year.
The solar power push followed a 2018 petition from the student body asking that Platteville achieve 100% renewable energy by 2030. In addition to the energy savings, the solar array will also provide educational opportunities for students.
Dave Lubach is managing editor, Facility Group.