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University of New Orleans Partners with Bernhard to Launch Innovative Solar Array Installation

NEW ORLEANS, LA — The University of New Orleans (UNO) and Bernhard announce the installation of a solar array on the UNO campus. This initiative marks a significant step forward in UNO's commitment to sustainability and reducing its carbon footprint. The comprehensive project, from initial feasibility testing to final interconnection validation, has been completed in just 10 months.

The solar array comprises 3,300 panels, each rated at 565 watts. In total, the array generates 1.78 MW DC/1 MW AC of electricity, integrating into UNO's infrastructure to provide immediate benefits to the on-campus community.

Designed to never produce more electricity than UNO utilizes, the system ensures efficient energy utilization without any excess to back feed into the grid, thus maximizing sustainability efforts.

“This solar array plays a meaningful role in helping UNO reduce its Scope 2 emissions while enhancing the financial outcome of the overall project and reducing the university’s electricity consumption by 30 percent,” said David Amoss, Vice President of Development at Bernhard. “It also provides a lab-like facility for the university to build additional curriculum around, as the quality of UNO’s programs has long been a critical source of our talented workforce in the New Orleans area.”

The benefits of this project are multifaceted. Not only does the solar system serve as a sustainable green energy source, reducing UNO's reliance on traditional utility providers, but it also significantly diminishes UNO’s carbon footprint. UNO also stands to benefit financially, with anticipated savings from reduced energy costs and eligibility for a 30 percent Investment Tax Credit rebate totaling approximately $520,000.

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“The completion of the solar array project marks a major milestone in the university’s sustainability efforts,” UNO President Kathy Johnson said. “It will help reduce our carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions starting right now. I am thrilled that our partnership with Bernhard has yielded such an innovative approach to energy usage.”

The solar array's environmental impact is substantial, with an estimated annual reduction of 1,721 metric tons of CO2 emissions, equivalent to removing 319 cars from the road or planting 40,263 trees in one year. This underscores UNO's commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability.

The solar array installation is part of a 25-year partnership between Bernhard and UNO aimed at revitalizing the university's energy infrastructure, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and supporting UNO's academic and research endeavors. Over the partnership's lifetime, UNO anticipates generating $2.1 million in annual utility cost savings while addressing nearly $9 million in deferred maintenance.

UNO's 200-acre lakefront campus will undergo extensive energy infrastructure improvements totaling $27 million within the partnership's initial 24 months. These enhancements include the solar array installation, renewal of chilled water systems, building asset upgrades, efficiency improvements, and retro-commissioning efforts, all aimed at enhancing sustainability and efficiency.

UNO continues to evolve its campus infrastructure to meet the challenges of the future.

“Bernhard could not be more proud of how this partnership has developed during its first year, which is a testament to the hard work of our delivery team and UNO’s leadership and facilities staff,” Amoss said.

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