FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The University of Arkansas’ 2022 Sustainability report outlined a solar energy plan that would save the school over three million dollars every year.
Now, the university says its plans are growing.
“We’re deploying the largest solar energy project ever in the state of Arkansas,” said Eric Boles, director of Sustainability for the University of Arkansas.
He believes expanding the school’s use of solar power is a cost-efficient way to reduce its carbon footprint.
“It’s going to save the campus millions and millions of dollars. $150 million over the lifetime of the project. And it’s going to cut our carbon footprint almost in half,” said Boles.
Although the school has many sustainability projects in the works, Boles says growing the university’s energy production will have one of the greatest impacts.
“By 2025, I think we’ll have those systems connected to the grid and up and running. And the University of Arkansas system will be majority renewable energy at that point,” said Boles.
“I don’t know how big like this one’s going to be, but it’s going to be cool,” said Katie Grace Tubbs, a student at the University of Arkansas.
She says she looks forward to the solar expansion and how it might impact travel on campus. With more solar energy in the school’s power grid, the university says it plans to increase options like e-scooters, to reduce traffic.
“There’s so many cars. There’s so much traffic. So like, I guess a regular commute turns it into like so much longer than it should be just because there are so many people. So like with the scooters, it’s cool,” said Tubbs.
Boles agrees with Tubbs, hoping it can decrease cars on the road.
“We’re trying to remove barriers for students to to leave their car behind, you know, get get on a bicycle, get on an e-scooter,” said Boles.
The university says it will pay no cost upfront for the solar project. Instead, the school is promising to pay for the electricity it generates for 25 years.