Solar power, shade coming to MSU parking lots

(www.landingstatejournal.com)

Among the active construction projects on Michigan State University’s campus this summer is one that will keep parked cars cool. And research labs, too.

Solar panel parking bays — covered parking capable of collecting energy from the sun — are going up on five parking lots along the southern portion of campus.

Standing more than 14 feet tall at their lowest point and collectively spanning more than 700,000 square feet, the bays will collect between 10 and 11 megawatts of power during peak hours, according to Wolfgang Bauer, a professor of physics and senior consultant with the Office of the Executive Vice President.

“It’ll be the largest non-utility solar array in the state,” he said, adding that MSU’s array will provide an example to other institutions of what can be done.

Around noon on a sunny summer day, the array is expected to generate about one-sixth of the campus’ total energy needs. Annually, it’s expected to save MSU from having to generate or purchase around 15,000-megawatt hours of electricity, between five and six percent of energy consumption on campus.