Construction is beginning on a 2-megawatt solar array that will supply about 10 percent of Ohio Northern University’s annual electricity needs.Under a 25-year power purchase agreement, ONU will purchase electricity directly from the array without needing to invest capital in construction and maintenance.Using 18,000 thin-film panels from First Solar, the array will include a single-axis tracker that moves panels to follow the sun, allowing maximum solar harvest.
The array will reduce ONU’s carbon footprint by over 2,200 tons, equal to 210 average households.GEM Energy of Walbridge, Ohio, will design, construct, operate and maintain the ground-mounted array. Construction will be complete late this year.ONU will include the solar array in its renewable energy curriculum. Led by GEM Energy, the program will include pilot student teams.
“This project underscores the value and importance of renewable energy to ONU, and we are pleased to add this solar array to the university’s sustainability footprint,” ONU President Daniel DiBiasio said. “Not only will the university benefit from this endeavor, but our students in particular will realize its value, especially those who are involved in co-op and similar opportunities on this site. This puts the concept of high-impact learning in action.”
“Ohio Northern University has a tremendous commitment to sustainability, and we’re pleased to take ONU to the next level with its first solar array,” said GEM Energy President Bill Alexander.