The University of Queensland (UQ) has become the first major university in the world to offset all of its electricity use with clean, renewable energy, following the launch of the university’s 200,000 panelled solar farm this month.
The solar farm, situated close to the state’s southeastern town of Warwick, will generate around 160 gigawatt-hours of renewable electricity a year — enough to power over 25,000 households — and decrease coal use by at least 60,000 tonnes.
Organisations, businesses and universities need to seriously step up if the world is to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius and Australia is to achieve its Paris agreement targets, UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Peter Høj said.
Høj hopes UQ’s achievement will inspire others and prove that transitioning to renewable energy is feasible.
“The Warwick Solar farm is first and foremost an act of leadership that demonstrates that a transition to renewables can be done at scale, that’s practicable and makes economic sense,” Høj said in a UQ article. “When it comes to climate change, we all share the responsibility and the consequences, and so we need to be acting in a way that is informed by research and with collaboration in mind.”
Detailed information about the solar farm is freely available, and Høj says the university will meet and share key learnings from its renewable energy journey with commercial operators, governments and industry players.