Up to half of the University of New England’s energy will soon come from renewable solar, with the Vice-Chancellor announcing a new $6.6-million Solar Farm project.
The solar farm will be built on university grounds adjacent to the campus with more than 10,000 solar photovoltaic modules being erected.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Annabelle Duncan said the farm would displace more than 5,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year.
“That is the equivalent of taking 1000 cars off the road. Electricity will be produced when it is needed the most – during the day. These measures will reduce energy costs and our carbon footprint,” Prof Duncan said.
She said the university’s current energy requirements are expensive.
“The solar farm will improve environmental and financial sustainability for UNE,” Prof Duncan said.
The University is funding the $6.6 million project and have appointed Aurecon as external project managers.
“Aurecon will manage the design and construction of the solar farm under a turnkey contract and we expect the solar farm to be operational by the first quarter of 2018,” Prof Duncan said.
Renewable energy generation provide cheaper energy than traditional sources such as grid electricity, and will have a range of other benefits for the University.
“I am also confident that the project has the potential to draw students who would appreciate a ‘green’ campus, and who are interested in hands-on opportunities for research and teaching in renewable energy topics.”
Energy to the university is currently supplied through grid electricity and liquid petroleum gas, with the academic campus accounting for 70 per cent of UNE’s electricity usage.