UL Lafayette’s $5M solar farm near completion
Apr 02, 2018 11:16AM
● By Flint Zerangue, Sr.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is nearing completion of the state’s second-largest solar facility that will reduce the university’s energy consumption by up to 10 percent and lead the way for student research into solar power.
Construction of UL Lafayette’s Photovoltaic Applied Research and Testing laboratory, stationed across six acres of land near the corner of Eraste Landry Road and Cajundome Boulevard, is slated to end in the coming weeks. It joins other institutes such as the Center for Visual and Decision Informatics and the USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center in the university’s 143-acre Research Park.
The $4 million facility — with an additional $1 million set aside for maintenance over the next 25 years — will produce around 2,269 Megawatt-hours per year, according to Terrence Chambers, Ph.D., department head of mechanical engineering at UL Lafayette.
“This will be the equivalent to taking 362 vehicles off the road each year,” he said.
The project was fully funded by a grant from Louisiana Generating, LLC, a subsidiary of NRG Renew.
Chambers said the energy from the solar farm will be used to power the university’s athletic complex. This will reduce the university’s power bill, allowing for more money to be used for student educational activities.
The facility will make UL Lafayette one of the only universities in the U.S. to utilize its solar energy facilities to offset fossil-fuel energy consumption, according to a university press release.
“This will be one of the largest solar facilities in the state and the largest renewable energy project to date in Lafayette,” Chambers explained.
By Erin Trahan
Photo Credit: UL Lafayette