University of Queensland to invest in 64-MW solar park
Artist's impression of the Warwick Solar Farm. Source: The University of Queensland (www.uq.edu.au)
The University of Queensland (UQ) said on Thursday it will deploy a 64-MW solar park, worth AUD 125 million (USD 95.6m/EUR 80.8m), to offset its annual electricity needs.
The project will make it the first major university in the world to offset 100% of its electricity consumption though its own renewable energy asset, according to the announcement.
The Warwick solar farm is located near Warwick, on Queensland's Southern Downs. It was granted development approval by Southern Downs Regional Council on Wednesday and currently a formal connection agreement is being finalised.
The university, which already has almost 50,000 solar panels, will acquire the project from renewables developer Terrain Solar once construction begins, and will own and operate the plant during its lifetime. Construction is scheduled to kick off by the end of the year and last 12 months.
The cost will be recouped within the life of the project through energy cost savings, UQ says.
The solar farm will also provide research and teaching opportunities. "In addition, UQ will install several electric vehicle ‘fast chargers’, and the site will include a visitor’s centre, helping to position the Southern Downs as a renewable energy hub," said UQ vice-chancellor and president professor Peter Hoj.