New solar panels installed at UW-Stout as part of green initiative

Published: Aug. 14, 2023 at 9:22 PM CDT
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MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU) - UW-Stout’s largest solar panel array to date is up and running on the roof of Jarvis Hall Tech Wing.

Sustainability manager for the university, Kadi Wright, said the project has been in the works since she was student years ago.

“UW Stout, we are charter signatory of the carbon commitment, and so we are committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and actually neutralizing our greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” said Wright.

Going green could also save the university some green in the process.

“This project does help us reduce our electric energy purchases by 9% and our natural gas usage by 2%,” said Wright.

The hundreds of solar panels that make up the large array from the roof of Jarvis Hall, and another coming along on the roof of the General Services Building, 773 panels to be exact said Justin Utpadel who is a senior facilities officer for UW-Stout, is something that will have more benefits beyond sustainability.

“And it also provides us a great opportunity to educate students, right? Because now we have a new energy producing system on our campus so we can show them how it works, how it helps the environment, how it helps our facilities, ultimately giving them a better education,” said Utpadel.

Students are the reason for the university to work on this project. Officials said a student-run committee helped with funding efforts for solar panels installed at Price Commons, and that inspired the larger project.

“So, students are always for renewable energy projects here on campus,” said Wright.

More solar panels could be coming to campus.

“Really, it’s an assessment of of rough space and efficiency of the installation. So we try to get as many as we can on the facilities that we we were able to put them on,” said Utpadel.

Heritage Hall, currently planned to undergo renovations, will have solar panels installed on its roof, and that array Utpadel said should be up and running by the summer of 2025.

As part of the project, LED lighting and energy saving appliances have been installed at several of the buildings on campus.