Wyoming Solar Array to Provide Hands-On Research
In a press release, Creative Energies announced a $10,000 donation to the 9H Research Foundation’s planned solar facility.
Paul Bonifas, Director of Operations for 9H, said the 0.5 MW array will take up five acres of land on the 9H ranch in Laramie, and plans to reach up to three MW at some point in the future, which is the amount of energy used by the University of Wyoming College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Bonifas said the goal of the project is more about encouraging research than generating electricity, as several solar panels on the array were designed by students at the University of Wyoming.
"The primary goal isn't to generate electricity, that's obviously going to happen, but really this is to shine as an example, a beacon, of what is possible, and encourage industry to move here. Companies are looking to be more and more powered by clean energy, so this could just be an example for them, 'maybe we should consider developing this or that industrial operation in Wyoming.'"
Annie Studer, marketing manager for Creative Energies Solar, said they hope the solar array will help to spur innovation of renewable energy in Wyoming.
"Wyoming can really lead the way with this facility. Renewables are the future...it'll drive innovation, jobs, and definitely economic benefits. Coal is, there's just less and less demand for it, Wyoming has to free itself to explore other revenue."
The 0.5 MW solar system outside of Laramie will generate 976,200 kilowatt hours annually, using $300,000 worth of solar panels, equal to 1,152 panels, donated by the company First Solar, along with a $500,000 donation from 9H founder Gene Humphry.
According to Bonifas, the 0.5 MW solar installation plans to begin digging the foundation in a few weeks, and will start installing the electronics in October, with the project being completed by the end of the year.