April 29, 2009
TEMPE, Ariz.—Arizona State University has begun an ambitious project to install 3.3 MW of renewable energy capacity via solar cells on its West campus.
The project primarily will utilize open space on the West campus and will meet nearly all of its energy needs, said David Brixen, ASU interim vice president of university services. It is part of the second phase of ASU's overall solarization project on all of its campuses.
"The new solar photovoltaic system at ASU West is a significant investment for our campus," said ASU President Michael Crow. "It is a smart investment in that it will pay back in annual dividends to ASU and to Arizona by taking the West campus partially off the traditional energy grid and putting it on one that is based on a renewable and sustainable energy source that does not pollute our environment."
The solar cells will be located between 49th and 51st avenues, south of the Las Casas residence complex. Most of the installation will be in an open area, but Brixen said some of the solar cells will cover existing parking areas, providing shade to cars. Construction is expected to begin this summer with the system operational by December 2009.
"We are currently contemplating up to 7 MW total for the West campus," Brixen said. "But if we went to that scale, we would need to secure more areas."
The West campus solar project is part of an overall effort by Arizona State University to transition to renewable energy systems for its power. Already, the Tempe campus has built solar photovoltaic systems that produce approximately 2 MW of power. "When phase 2 of this project is completed, ASU will have built solar cell systems that generate more than 10 MW of power on all of its four campuses," Brixen said.
Three companies are providing the solar cell systems and infrastructure for the overall ASU project. They are Independent Energy Group, Arizona Public Service Energy Services and Carbon Free Technology. Arizona Public Service Energy Services is installing the photovoltaic systems on the West campus.
"We believe that when these projects are completed, the 10 MW of solar energy will be the largest university solar photovoltaic system in the U.S.," Brixen said.
David Brixen, (480) 965-1852
Skip Derra, (480) 965-4823; firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Des Georges, (602) 543-5220; Stephen.email@example.com