GEM Energy said Oct. 4 that construction is beginning on a 2-MW solar array that will supply about 10% of Ohio Northern University‘s annual electricity needs.
Under a 25-year power purchase agreement, the university will purchase electricity directly from the array without needing to invest capital in construction and maintenance. Using 18,000 thin-film panels from First Solar, the array will include a single-axis tracker that moves panels to follow the sun, allowing maximum solar harvest. GEM Energy, out of Walbridge, Ohio, will design, construct, operate and maintain the ground-mounted array. Construction will be complete late this year.
The university will include the solar array in its renewable energy curriculum. Led by GEM Energy, the program will include pilot student teams.
“This project underscores the value and importance of renewable energy to ONU, and we are pleased to add this solar array to the university’s sustainability footprint,” ONU President Daniel DiBiasio said. “Not only will the university benefit from this endeavor, but our students in particular will realize its value, especially those who are involved in co-op and similar opportunities on this site. This puts the concept of high-impact learning in action.”
“Ohio Northern University has a tremendous commitment to sustainability, and we’re pleased to take ONU to the next level with its first solar array,” said GEM Energy President Bill Alexander.
GEM Energy provides comprehensive services and technologies to improve customer business performance and reduce operating costs, with offices in Toledo, Ohio; Ithaca, NY and Milwaukee, Wis. A turnkey solar developer bringing solutions with no out-of-pocket costs to customers, GEM Energy’s expertise encompasses financing, engineering, procurement, construction, operations and maintenance.
GEM Energy is part of the Rudolph Libbe Group, which provides customized building solutions together and independently, with services ranging from site selection and financing, through all aspects of construction to ongoing maintenance.