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Construction has begun on a 1.1 megawatt solar field with 1.1 megawatt battery storage system to serve about one-third of the electricity consumption of the MIU campus. A five-acre field of solar panels will be installed on University-owned land just west of the main campus and connected by underground cable to the University substation. Solar panels move to track the sun during the day and store excess energy in the battery bank for night time and peak energy needs.

The solar project is the culmination of years of design, engineering, and planning work by the local Fairfield solar company Ideal Energy together with University trustee Tom Factor. Ideal Energy is helmed by former US Navy Seal and MIU alumnus Troy Van Beek that focuses on smart, scalable solar deployment. Tom Factor is a retired wind energy developer and researcher that has led the development of over forty utility-scale wind farms.

The over $2 million solar project is funded by private investment and a loan from MIU. The MIU loan was made possible by generous donations and a grant from the Wege Foundation. The graduating class of 2017 made a donation to the pre-development costs for the project. The solar project is projected to lower MIU’s cost of electricity by about a third over its 25-year life.

MIU currently purchases electricity from its utility, Alliant Energy. Fifteen percent of Alliant’s electricity is generated from wind farms. In addition, MIU has a solar array that helps power the Golden Dome and a solar installation on the roof of its Schwartz-Guich Sustainable Living Center along with a wind turbine at that location. Pooling these resources together with the new campus solar field, MIU will receive about 43% of its electricity from solar and wind.

Past and present MIU presidents, Drs. Bevan Morris and John Hagelin, have supported and signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) and Paris Climate Initiative with the intention of moving MIU to become a carbon-neutral campus. This new solar field is a big step forward in that continuing effort to promote life in accord with natural law.