Solar covered parking bays.
They’re more than 14 feet tall, and on a warm sunny day, will generate about 1/6th of Michigan State University’s total energy needs.
Soon students and faculty at MSU can park on campus, knowing the air is a little cleaner and their car will be protected from the hot summer rays and cold winter snow.
It’s a project that’s been in the works for nearly two years, and now it’s finally taking shape.
“We have a micro-grid on campus that produces all of our electricity and heat and so it was natural to say how can we make this more efficient, save more money and also be greener,” says MSU Physics Professor, Wolfgang Bauer.
Bauer says the entire project will consist of more than 40-thousand individual solar panels in five lots across campus.
Once completed, the panels could save MSU as much as $10-million over the next 25 years.
Creating not just a greener environment, but also a learning opportunity for students.
“When a cloud moves over, the output of the solar array goes down and we have to figure out how to back up the array, so there’s a lot of research and a lot of teaching going on where the students directly profit from this installation,” says Bauer.
Right now, crews are cutting beams, and anchoring them to the ground. A big undertaking Bauer says, will keep workers busy for the rest of the summer.
The solar project is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
And Spartan fans shouldn’t worry, as the project’s manager says, construction won’t get in the way of fall tailgates.