Our search for renewable energy sources led us to install a 10-acre solar field that avoids many of the environmental challenges associated with most systems.
An Innovative Approach to Solar Field Installation
We had two goals in mind when we built our solar fields—create a predictable source of renewable energy that would reduce our operating costs and minimize the impact on the environment. Both goals were realized with the completion of our 10-acre, $6 million solar installation. Using a special mounting system, we were able to avoid stripping the land, altering the topography, or affecting our storm water plan.
Annually, the solar fields produce approximately 2 million kilowatt-hours—about 30% of our yearly energy consumption.
Increasing Biodiversity in Solar Fields
A common problem with many solar field installations is that they require the land to be both flat and free of plant life. These requirements negatively impact the ecosystem in several ways. Our researchers are responding to this challenge by developing a meadow seed mix that can be planted in these fields to minimize storm water runoff, maximize biodiversity, and create aesthetic appeal.