Fort Valley, GA— Fort Valley State University (FVSU) announced that Georgia Power will develop and construct an 11 megawatts (MWac), fixed-tilt solar generation facility located on the FVSU campus. It will serve as a living laboratory for FVSU professors and students who will help to build Georgia’s energy future. The solar farm will cover approximately 107 acres of land owned by the university, controlled by the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents and leased by Georgia Power. A demonstration facility will be modeled after the larger scale solar generation facility, comprised of photovoltaic solar panels that convert light into energy.
The project will benefit the public by enhancing education, training, research, economic development and stewardship of community sustainability. FVSU will also leverage its expertise in energy education programs to partner with Georgia Power to provide students with a hands-on experience during project development and operation.
“Partnerships like this solar demonstration project with Georgia Power represent the type of innovative thinking and collaboration between academia and business that allow us to work together to conduct research and give our students and professors the opportunity to gain real-world experience in the development of energy solutions for the future.” said Dr. Paul Jones, FVSU president.
The project will generate electricity that benefits Georgia Power’s retail customers. FVSU will have access to the demonstration site for research, academic instruction, and extension purposes. Campus leaders hope the project will serve as a model for other Georgia colleges.
“We are excited about the added benefits of our solar initiative with Georgia Power, especially our new demonstration center,” said Dr. T. Ramon Stuart, FVSU provost and vice president of academic affairs. “This center will allow us to conduct cutting-edge research related to solar power while helping us to create a degree program that focuses on the utilization of renewable energy resources.”
Dr. Cedric Ogden is spearheading the effort for FVSU. When completed, it will be one of the largest solar operations stationed on a college campus in the United States. Ogden said that in addition to academic programming, the facility will be also used to engage farmers and landowners through FVSU’s Cooperative Extension Program. The solar array will provide teaching and learning opportunities focused on nontraditional uses of their land and the feasibility of using renewable energy.
“This is a leasing agreement between FVSU and Georgia Power for land used in installing their solar power system,” said Ogden. “Fort Valley State provides the land and in return receives revenue, and more importantly, benefits for education, outreach and research purposes. This project has the potential to position FVSU as one of the more attractive universities at which to pursue a degree in the fields of energy, power, natural resources and renewable systems”
The project, which was approved by the USG Board of Regents at its May meeting, is expected to begin generating electricity in mid-2020.