Research article Special Issues

Implementation of a large-scale solar photovoltaic system at a higher education institution in Illinois, USA

  • Received: 26 October 2016 Accepted: 08 December 2016 Published: 03 January 2017
  • Solar energy has several environmental, economic, and educational benefits for college campuses, but it is difficult for state schools to find funding for these projects. This study shows that a solar photovoltaic (PV) system on Illinois State University’s (ISU) campus is technically and financially feasible. While there have been several solar feasibility studies of higher education institutions in USA, there has been a lack of in depth financial analysis. We conducted solar site assessments on five potential locations on campus, used a solar energy performance model to analyze the technical feasibility of each location, and performed a financial assessment using a professional PV financial modeling tool to compare different financing options. Our results show that three sites on campus can be used to develop a combined solar PV system of one megawatt. Both direct and third-party ownership models are financially feasible for this combined system. Our findings can be replicable as a case study for future solar PV system development on college campuses.

    Citation: Jin H. Jo, Kadi Ilves, Tyler Barth, Ellen Leszczynski. Implementation of a large-scale solar photovoltaic system at a higher education institution in Illinois, USA[J]. AIMS Energy, 2017, 5(1): 54-62. doi: 10.3934/energy.2017.1.54

    Related Papers:

  • Solar energy has several environmental, economic, and educational benefits for college campuses, but it is difficult for state schools to find funding for these projects. This study shows that a solar photovoltaic (PV) system on Illinois State University’s (ISU) campus is technically and financially feasible. While there have been several solar feasibility studies of higher education institutions in USA, there has been a lack of in depth financial analysis. We conducted solar site assessments on five potential locations on campus, used a solar energy performance model to analyze the technical feasibility of each location, and performed a financial assessment using a professional PV financial modeling tool to compare different financing options. Our results show that three sites on campus can be used to develop a combined solar PV system of one megawatt. Both direct and third-party ownership models are financially feasible for this combined system. Our findings can be replicable as a case study for future solar PV system development on college campuses.


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  • © 2017 the Author(s), licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)
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