MSUToday
Published: March 5, 2018

MSU’s Solar Carport receives the Smart Energy Decisions Onsite Renewable Energy Award

Contact(s): Wolfgang Bauer Physics and Astronomy office: (517) 432-4762 bauer@pa.msu.edu

Michigan State University’s solar carport project received high praise at the Smart Energy Decisions Innovation Summit 2018.  During the inaugural innovation awards event MSU was the co-recipient of the Onsite Renewable Energy award for “The Largest Carport Solar Array in North America.”

The Smart Energy Decisions press release of the award ceremony explains:

MSU's solar carport array is constructed on five of the university's largest commuter parking lots and covers 5,000 parking spaces.  Created through a PPA, the project provides a renewable power production and energy consumption reduction showcase on campus, where the university's students can study solar photovoltaic and inverter technology, as well as their integration into the micro-grid. The judges called the project audacious and impressive, with innovative finance and execution.

Wolfgang Bauer, senior consultant in the Office of the Executive Vice President for Administrative Services, and one of MSU’s project leaders, attended the ceremony in Austin, Texas, on February 27 to receive the award on MSU’s behalf.

MSU’s solar carport project is part of the MSU Energy Transition Plan path of emissions and fossil fuel consumption reduction and integration of renewable power sources, with the eventual goal of a campus powered at 100 percent from renewable energy sources. 

The solar carports are designed to deliver a peak power of 10.5 Megawatts and an annual energy of 15 million kilowatt-hours, which is enough to power approximately 1,800 Michigan homes.

The carport project was realized through a power purchase agreement with Inovateus, a solar company based in Indiana, and Alterra, a Canadian renewable energy company.  Because of this innovative financing, MSU did not have to provide the capital for the construction of the solar array.  This results in approximately $10 million savings in electricity costs for MSU integrated over the 25-year duration of the power purchase agreement contract.

For a complete list of the awards see: https://www.smartenergydecisions.com/blog/2018/03/01/inaugural-innovation-awards-presented

John Failla (left), founder and managing director of Smart Energy Decisions, presents the Innovation Award to Wolfgang Bauer.

A new superpower on the horizon. Michigan State University scientists look to the sun to solve Earth's biggest problems. Read our paid post on the New York Times site