As the city of Athens, Georgia, and the University of Georgia works to embrace renewable energy sources, the SolarSMART team thought it would be great to talk about how Athens generates solar energy! Solar at the University of Georgia means many things!
According to the University of Georgia Renewable Energy Website, “UGA partnered with Georgia Power to install a 1-megawatt solar array in an underutilized agricultural field next to the UGA Club Sports Complex on South Milledge Avenue. The project includes various technologies for tracking patterns of the sun to maximize the output of electricity, providing research opportunities for students in the UGA College of Engineering and others. An on-site webcam provided a time-lapse view of the construction. Construction began in 2015, and the facility became active in early 2016.”
While Georgia Power owns the equipment and the energy it puts on the grid, UGA keeps the renewable energy credits (RECs) to count against its greenhouse gas footprint. This site contains the most extensive dual-axis solar array in the United States. It also includes LED lighting for the parking lot powered by smaller individual solar panels.
The College of Environment and Design includes 72 solar panels on its roof, a source of clean, renewable power installed in a fresh, modern design.
The rooftop solar power system generates approximately 30,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity for the year. “That’s equivalent to 189 laptops operating all day every day,” according to Kevin Kirsche, Director of Sustainability at UGA’s Office of Sustainability.
Herty Field also boasts some solar panels, in the form of solar charging tables. Students can write term papers on laptops outside while never worrying about running out of batteries while plugged directly into the solar table located near the Herty fountain. The table looks like any other table with a canopy, but it’s got a solar panel on top instead! These panels are capable of charging between 75 and 150 hand-held, mobile devices a day, even on cloudy days, with the use of a 530-watt solar array and 225-amp hour gel cell battery.
UGAarden - A free-standing solar array with eight solar panels provides power to a farm building and electric vehicle charging station at the UGArden Teaching & Demonstration Farm. A team of UGA Engineering students designed the project and installed in 2013 through the UGA Campus Sustainability Grants program.