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

1 Department of Technology, Illinois State University, Normal, IL, 61790-5100, USA
2 Department of Economics, Illinois State University, Normal, IL, USA

Special Issues: Solar PV Energy

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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