U of I plans solar farm growth

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) – The University of Illinois may decide to further build its solar farm.

The U of I system wants the South Farms campus to cut its carbon emissions to zero by 2050, a move that would earn it a “carbon neutral” label. It hopes to get there by expanding the 21-acre area and upping production from 7,300 megawatt hours of electricity to 25,000. 

Part of the reason the U of I wants to be carbon neutral is to meet renewable energy goals set by the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP).

Professor Evan DeLucia, who works on the U of I Sustainability Council, says expansion is only one possibility as the school system pushes toward emission reduction goals.

The South Farms campus is offline in early January, but The News-Gazette reports it will be up and running again soon. The U of I says it is not paying farm operator Phoenix Solar LLC for regular costs or repairs while the operation is down. The system is offline because of on-site electrical system issues.

The Sustainability Council is working on figuring out pricing for expansion in January. It says a second farm would try to save money spent on transmission lines if it’s built closer to the U of I campus.

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