The University of Tulsa (UT), in partnership with Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO), has completed one of the state’s largest rooftop solar installations on the university’s Case Tennis Center. The 300-kilowatt system will generate enough power to keep the light on in 75 homes. The university will lease the 936 photovoltaic solar panel array to from PSO, which will maintain the system.
The Princeton Review named UT Oklahoma the state’s greenest college and it was awarded the local Henry Bellmon Sustainability Award for Quality of Life in 2015. UT is continuing its efforts of creating a campus culture focused on sustainability. Beyond the solar array, UT’s Sustainability Committee is expanding LED lighting, creating an efficient recycling system and even outfitting campus golf carts to run on solar power.
“These initiatives have helped reduce our carbon footprint and have opened the door for research opportunities for students and faculty here at the university,” said Susan Neal, UT vice president for public affairs, research and economic development.
PSO officials say the solar array on the rooftop of the Case Tennis Center is a big step toward the utility’s efforts to become involved in the solar power boom taking place across the US. PSO plans to integrate an additional 200 megawatts of solar power into the state’s grid by 2024.
It’s a progressive step, yet Oklahoma rates well below other states in its efforts to expand and develop the solar sector. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), booming solar states like Colorado, North Carolina and New Jersey have already adopted solar friendly policies and have the capacity to add 200 megawatts of solar power in one year while Oklahoma PSO’s plan will take eight years.
That’s among the reasons why the state achieved an “F” grade in the Center of Biologic Diversity’s Throwing Shade: 10 Sunny States Blocking Distributed Solar Development. The state has adopted policies that are impeding the growth of solar power and integration. Among the policies in the state that are impeding the growth of solar is the implementation of SB 1456 signed by Governor Mary Fallin (R), which became law in 2014. That law, supported by the American Legislative Exchange Council—a fossil-fuel friendly organization backed by the Koch brothers, allows utilities to apply a net-metering surcharge to consumers with solar and wind.Tweet