The University of Texas at Austin Celebrates Completion of Austin's Largest Solar Power System

Event: The University of Texas at Austin and its Facilities Services Department mark the completion of a solar power system installed on the J. J. Pickle Research Campus (PRC).

When: 10:30 a.m., June 2

Where: J. J. Pickle Research Campus, 10100 Burnet Road. Entrance between US 183 and Braker Lane. Maps are available online.

Background: Consisting of two arrays of solar panels, the photovoltaic system is the largest completed solar project at one location in Austin. The installation expands renewable energy sources at the university and is largely funded by a grant from the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO).

Speakers include Dr. Pat Clubb, vice president of university operations; Dr. Steven Kraal, senior associate vice president for campus planning and facilities management; Dub Taylor, director, SECO and Stimulus Contracts, State Comptroller's Office; Greg Smith, executive vice president of project contractor Jamail and Smith; and Mark Rangel, general manager for subcontractor Texas Solar Power Company of Austin. At the conclusion of remarks, Dr. Clubb will turn on a switch, representing implementation of the system.

Staff will lead a tour of the ground mounted array and the photovoltaic system monitors.

In 2010, The University of Texas at Austin received almost $1.6 million in grant funds from SECO for installing two solar cell systems at PRC. The project consists of two grid-tied solar power systems. One system is a ground-mounted array of solar panels in a field south of the Microelectronics and Engineering Research Center building. The other system is an array of panels over a newly constructed carport west of the Bureau of Economic Geology Administration building. A monitoring system tracks the energy generated at each installation.

Together, the systems are capable of producing 406,200 kilowatt hours of renewable energy per year. With the new technology in place, PRC expects to decrease peak demand costs and save 263 tons of CO2 from being emitted. In addition, the project is expected to offer instructional opportunities for academic engineering programs at PRC.