ASU-Newport bringing in solar panel field

NEWPORT, AR (KAIT) - ASU-Newport is on a mission to be more energy efficient.

According to Adam Adair, vice chancellor for finance and administration at ASU-Newport, they're working on bringing a solar panel field to campus.

"We're always concerned about keeping our tuition affordable," he said. "And we're constantly looking for innovative ways to keep our operational cost low where we don't have to pass those cost on to our students and their families."

Adair said the institution has partnered with a firm Johnson Controls to help make their campus more energy efficient and will help save the college $200,000.

He said they plan to place their solar panel field between the Larry N. Williams Student Community Center and Samuel Moore Walton Hall.

The estimated cost is around $4 million.

Once installed, Adair said they hope the panels will last 25 to 30 years.

"We're looking at  LED lighting," he said. "We're looking at new HVAC equipment and energy controls for all of our HVAC equipment to be able to regulate the temperatures more easily and have automatic setbacks when folks are not on campus to help us with energy consumption."

Adair said one of the major parts of this project is purchasing a 1.8 million dollar solar ray.  Adair said the solar ray will also generate the most savings.

"ASU-Newport will have the largest non-utility publicly owned solar ray in the state of Arkansas," he said. "So, it will be enough to actually offset 50 percent of the utility usage on this campus here in Newport. We're really happy and excited about the project. We're looking at making this a lasting impact not only for sustainability and energy conservation, but for our mission. It has some cross over implications in our instruction and we have some great academic programs that can leverage and use this as a research opportunity."

Adair said they're expecting to break ground on their new solar panel field early this fall.

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