• Artist's impression of the Warwick Solar Farm. Credit: The University of QueenslandArtist's impression of the Warwick Solar Farm. Credit: The University of Queensland

UQ to become first university in the World with 100 per cent renewable energy

The University of Queensland is set to become the first major university in the world to offset 100 per cent of its electricity usage through its own renewable energy asset.

The University has plans to build a 64 megawatt (MW) solar farm on Queensland’s Southern Downs, that will complement the existing 50,000 solar panels on its campuses and lead to the University becoming energy neutral by 2020.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj explained that the solar farm will provide research, teaching and engagement opportunities in addition to its environmental and financial benefits for the University.  He said: “It will leverage UQ’s existing clean energy strengths and provide the potential to venture into emerging research and industry partnerships. Public engagement with the facility could be as varied as student field trips through to live data streaming that can be used for interactive market simulations.”

The proposed solar farm will generate about 154,000 megawatt hours of clean energy each year – enough to power 27,000 average homes – more than offsetting UQ’s current and projected future annual electricity usage. 

Construction of the solar farm is planned to start by the end of this year, directly creating more than 100 jobs, with an expected build time of 12 months.  When it becomes fully operational in 2019, the farm will begin to all of UQ’s current $22 million annual expenditure on grid electricity.

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