Sourced from The Daily Wildcat
Countries all over the world are attempting to come up with solutions to climate change and the lack of resources, energy and land to sustain the ever-growing population. One idea in particular, “agrivoltaics,” or “solar sharing,” has been around for a while but has recently grown in popularity.
The University of Arizona will be one of the first institutions in the world to have an agrivoltaics unit on top of a roof, combining two cutting-edge ideas — green roofs and solar sharing — into one, mutually beneficial unit.
Plans for an agrivoltaics array on the roof of the Environment and Natural Resources 2 Building were presented by the Office of Sustainability at a kick-off meeting Monday, Oct. 29, introducing the UA community to the planning, architectural design and funding for the project. The office said it hopes to move into construction this upcoming summer of 2019.
The kick-off meeting
The purpose of the meeting was to present what the Office of Sustainability has done so far and to present the framework of the project to the larger university community.
According to Trevor Ledbetter, the director of the Office of Sustainability, the meeting was a great point to start soliciting some new and different ideas that could be incorporated into the project.
Ledbetter said that his favorite part about the meeting was the level of interest that students expressed. “We had about half students, which was really great to see,” Ledbetter said. Many of them were students from Students for Sustainability, whose members played a key role in the project.
Stanley Wong, the SFS Energy and Climate Committee co-chair and a junior majoring in chemical engineering, was one of the students who spearheaded the project along with his co-chair Kelly McHugh, a junior majoring in environmental sciences.
“It really just stemmed from us recognizing that we wanted to see a change in how sustainability is conducted on our campus,” Wong said.
Students like Wong saw that there was not much on-campus, most of it being off-site. UA has 1.17 million kWh of photovoltaic electrical generation currently installed, and the ENR2 project will increase this by about 20 percent, according to Ledbetter.