Historically Black Fort Valley State University in Georgia has announced that Georgia Power will develop and construct an 11 megawatts fixed-tilt solar generation facility located on the university’s campus. The solar farm will cover approximately 107 acres of land owned by the university, controlled by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, and leased by Georgia Power.
The new facility will also serve as a research hub for Fort Valley State professors and students interested in building Georgia’s energy future. The project will benefit the public by enhancing education, training, research, economic development, and stewardship of community sustainability. Additionally, students will be provided with hand-on experience with Georgia Power during the project’s 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, president of Fort Valley State University.
Dr. Cedric Ogden, a professor of agriculture engineering technology and an extension engineer at the university, will spearhead the new project. When completed, it will be one of the largest solar farms stationed on a United Stated college campus. In addition to research opportunities for faculty and students, the new facility will be used to engage local farmers and landowners through the university’s Cooperative Extension Program. Extension participants will be provided with teaching and learning opportunities focused on nontraditional uses of their land and the feasibility of renewable energy.
“This is a leasing agreement between FVSU and Georgia Power for land used in installing their solar power system,” said Dr. 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 solar farm is expected to begin generating electricity in mid-2020.