MIU Inaugurates Massive Solar Array
On December 14, 2018, MIU inaugurated a 1.1 million watt state-of-the-art solar power plant — designed to provide one-third of the University’s electric power.
This “MEG’Array” Solar Power Plant is one of the most advanced solar arrays in the world. It is the first system in the Midwest to combine two leading-edge technologies on a large scale: ‘Active solar tracking’ and ‘Vanadium flow batteries’.
In active tracking systems, the solar panels follow the Sun as it moves across the sky, yielding 20-25% more energy than a fixed-tilt array. Each row of panels in the MEG’Array includes its own motor, controlled by ‘smart’ software which allows rows to move independently of each other, and ‘remember’ the best angles for maximum energy production throughout the seasons.
The Vanadium flow batteries store energy for use at night, on cloudy days, and during peak energy usage times. These batteries are capable of operating for decades without any loss of efficiency.
The special features of the solar power plant are:
- Independent row active tracking of the sun with adjustments to shed shadows and capture diffused and reflective light
- More than one megawatt-hour of battery storage
- Vanadium flow batteries that maintain their efficiency for decades without degradation
- Snow sensors that will rotate the panels vertically to shed snow
- Flood sensors that will rotate the panels horizontally to avoid flooding
- Panels capable of withstanding golf-ball sized hail and 115 mph winds
- Designed and engineered for the unique power requirements of MIU
- Integrated with solar, wind, and diesel generators on MIU’s campus
The solar power plant is a research facility on:
- Battery storage technology
- Artificial intelligence learning computer driven to optimize peak-shaving
- Compatible regenerative organic agriculture and pollinator plants
MIU purchases additional electricity from its regional utility company, Alliant Energy. Sixteen percent of Alliant’s electricity is generated from wind farms. In addition, MIU has solar panels powering several of its buildings and a wind turbine at its Sustainable Living department. Pooling all these resources together with the new campus solar field, MIU derives 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 within a decade. This new solar field is a big step forward in that continuing effort to promote life in accord with natural law.
MIU is educating changemakers for the economy of tomorrow and providing internships with companies that are powering the change.
- MIU is home to the first Sustainable Living degree program in the U.S. taught in a whole-tree construction green building that produces more energy than it consumes. Learn the skills needed to realize this connection and become a leader in the sustainability movement through hands-on classes, individualized attention, and the support of a sustainable, spiritual community.
- MIU’s unique Regenerative Organic Agriculture degree program offers education in carbon-sequestering sustainable organic practices in the heartland of American agriculture. Learn to grow healthy food that sustains our planet. Study permaculture, soil ecology, and more with experts in the field, connecting each topic to your deepest self.
- In MIU’s Sustainable Business MBA degree program, learn to create and or support a profitable business that offers life-sustaining products and services while helping you grow into the best person you can be.