Forwarded from: MUM Development Office <>


May 20, 2018 • ISSUE 432
University Website <>

The new solar array to cover five acres west of campus

The solar array outside the Patanjali Golden Dome

The Sustainable Living Center uses solar arrays for electricity and can supply 
its own energy needs

The campus wind turbine

New Solar Array Will Provide a Third of Campus Power
Construction is set to begin this summer on a five-acre field of solar panels 
on MUM land west of the recreational trail that borders the west side of 
campus. The 1.1-megawatt solar array will provide approximately one-third of 
the electricity used on campus and will be connected by an underground cable to 
the university’s substation.

The state-of-the-art solar panels will move to follow the path of the sun 
during the day. Excess energy will be stored in a battery bank for use during 
the night and during times of peak energy needs. The array will be one of 
Iowa’s largest, and the battery energy storage system will be the largest of 
its kind in the Midwest.

“This project is the culmination of years of design, engineering, and planning 
work by the local Fairfield solar company Ideal Energy together with university 
trustee Tom Factor,” said Tom Brooks, MUM vice president of operations.

Mr. Factor is a retired wind energy developer and researcher who has led the 
development of over 40 utility-scale wind farms. Ideal Energy, a leading solar 
company headed by MUM alumni Troy Van Beek and Amy Greenfield Van Beek, focuses 
on smart, scalable solar deployment.

The project, which will cost over $2 million and will be owned by an 
independent company, is being funded by private investment and by a loan from 
MUM that was made possible by donations, including grants from the Wege 
Foundation and the Schwartz Family Foundation. In addition, the Rona and 
Jeffrey Abramson Foundation and the MUM graduating classes of 2016 and 2017 
made donations to support the pre-development costs for the project.

The array, which will take about two months to complete, is projected to lower 
MUM’s cost of electricity by about a third over its 25-year life, saving 
hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In addition to the new array, MUM has a smaller array on the terrace west of 
the men’s dome, and a solar installation on the roof of the Schwartz-Guich 
Sustainable Living Center. Plus, a wind turbine south of the Sustainable Living 
Center also provides power to the campus.

Add these local sustainable sources to the fact that Alliant Energy, which 
provides electricity to campus, gets about 15 percent of its electricity from 
wind farms. The result is that over 43 percent of the university’s electricity 
will be from sustainable sources once the new array is complete this summer.

MUM continues to progress toward the goal of being a carbon-neutral campus and 
meeting the commitments the university has made to The American College & 
University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and to the Paris Climate Initiative.

“This new solar field is a big step forward in that continuing effort to 
promote life in accord with natural law,” Mr. Brooks said.
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