With its bright sunny location and hundreds of thousands of square feet of flat rooftops, Arizona State University wants to move into solar energy in a big way.
The university has received seven proposals to solarize large portions of the Tempe campus, a project that eventually could provide up to 15 percent of ASU’s electricity needs.
Thursday was the deadline to submit proposals, and ASU officials had not yet had a chance to study them in detail by Friday. The plans will be submitted next week to a selection committee, which will make a decision on which plan to accept, said Dave Brixen, assistant vice president, capital and facilities services.
He said the university plans to move quickly on the project. ASU officials see it as a chance to stimulate the solar industry in Arizona, demonstrate what can be done on a large scale and serve as a model for other institutions.
“What is important to us is to take a comprehensive approach to energy issues, not just in research but having operations that reflect the same goals,” said Dr. Jonathan Fink, director of ASU’s Global Institute on Sustainability.
ASU officials envision a project that would be among the largest solar efforts in the state. They believe there is sufficient space on flat rooftops and parking garages at the Tempe campus to generate between 4 and 7 megawatts. A solar power farm operated by Tucson Electric Power near Springerville produces about 4.6 megawatts.