In the past five years, a solar panel project on the engineering building at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Fox Cities campus has generated nearly 66,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of power.
The panels—funded in 2017 through a collaboration with UW-Platteville, the former UW Colleges and WPPI Energy of Sun Prairie—began producing power in March 2018. The 10-kilowatt system has generated roughly the same amount of energy consumed in an average Wisconsin home over the same five-year period.
“Our goal is to have examples of clean energy options running on our physical campus,” said Warren Vaz, UWO associate engineering and engineering technology professor.
The solar panel project is really just getting started.
“The warranty lasts another 20 years and the panels are expected to last approximately another 25, as they bravely battle storm after storm,” Vaz noted.
He also has collaborated with Menasha Utilities and the UW-Parkside App Factory on an educational project that tracks the cumulative solar generation of all panel arrays in the city of Menasha. A prototype renewable energy kiosk is located in the atrium of the main building on the Fox Cities campus.
Vaz doesn’t just talk the talk about sustainability. He also has personally adopted a number of clean energy practices to reduce his own carbon footprint, including living within biking and walking distance of work.
“We need to develop all the solutions that we can,” he said. “We need to be mindful that small decisions can make a big impact and our actions send messages down the street to our neighbors.”