The University of Idaho is Going Solar
As a signatory of two climate agreements—the Talloires Declaration and the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitment—the University of Idaho is prioritizing the reduction of greenhouse gases generated on campus, with a goal of carbon neutrality and energy independence by 2030.
To further the goal of carbon neutrality, U of I is pursuing on-site power generation through two exciting projects:
- the installation of a rooftop photovoltaic array on the Institutional Research and Innovation Center (IRIC)
- the addition of electricity-producing steam turbines at the U of I District Energy Plant.
These power-generation projects will play a critical role as U of I pursues carbon neutrality through the development of a campus microgrid.
Why is solar the right decision for the University of Idaho?
- We are committed to sustainability. This was most recently affirmed in our 2016 strategic plan, where sustainability is identified as one of our five core values.
- We endeavor to achieve climate neutrality at U of I by 2030, in accordance with our Climate Action Plan.
- We are focused on reducing electricity consumption, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, according to our 2019 Greenhouse Gas Inventory.
- Electricity costs are increasing by 5% each year. When you purchase a solar array it’s like buying your energy “in bulk” for the next 30 years, at a fixed price.
Project overview and impact
Upon completion of a University of Idaho Solar Site Assessment comparing 15 rooftop and ground mount locations, the Integrated Research and Innovation Center (IRIC)—the university’s first LEED GOLD building—was determined to be the most suitable location for the first photovoltaic solar array. IRIC can support 392 panels, produce 147kW of energy, and meet 15% of this energy intensive building’s annual demand; however, during the summer months, the array will produce nearly 100% of IRIC’s energy needs. Greenhouse gas emissions offset by the solar array are predicted to be 104,000 lbs annually.
Thank you for your support!
On behalf of the students, engineers, architects and administrators working to bring renewable solar energy to campus, we offer our thanks for the generosity of donors.
If you would like to contribute to energy-independence and carbon neutrality at University of Idaho, please consider making a donation to the U of I Sustainability Center.