Renewable Energy

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Renewable energy systems are at the forefront of making UWM more sustainable; however, it is critical to manage our energy usage to maximize the effectiveness of these investments. The Department of Energy defines renewable energy as wind, solar, geothermal, hydrogen, and biomass.

The current progress on renewable energy at UWM lies in the research of our College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, by taking advantage of current incentives and grants, as well as a through our planning process to find the best sites. Renewable energy can also be purchased through our local utility.

Solar Electric (Photovoltaic)

Pending roof structure and building position, solar photovoltaic (PV) is a great option for renewable energy in the city. Technology is always changing.  It is best to place solar panels facing a southerly direction, without the occurrence of too much shading throughout the day.

Bolton Hall- 15 kW

This 74 panel solar energy installation is a perfect example of using the campus as a living laboratory. The drive behind this installation is research being conducted by UWM’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Each panel produces 205 watts.

Cambridge Commons- 10 kW

Solar panels are located on the 6-story core of the building.  The installation was part of LEED Gold construction of the building.

Golda Meir Library- 30 kW

In addition to the energy conservation and green roof installation at Golda Meir, a larger solar pv system was also added into the project.  Incorporating the pv panels into the green roof was done with intention.  The respiration from the plants helps the panels run more efficiently.  This is being tested by a PhD research student in the School of Architecture.

Accelerator Building at Innovation Campus- 25 kW

As UW-Milwaukee expanded into Wauwatosa at Innovation Campus, the Accelerator Building, a collaborative research space, achieved LEED Silver with the solar photovoltaic system on its rooftop.

 Microgrid at UWM’s University Services and Research Building

Tucked away in a small industrial area, Professor Adel Nasiri is building out and testing an energy microgrid solution utilizing solar, wind, natural gas generators and lithium-ion batteries at a UWM site.  Nasiri’s microgrid testbed will demonstrate new energy control and storage methods while also integrating multiple kinds of energy, including renewables.  Microgrids support an independent energy supply that is useful to industry for security and reliability, especially in the event of a storm, while also connecting to the grid if so selected.

For more information on UWM’s Microgrid System:

Microgrid Energy Gets Plugged In 

Major Project Underway in Milwaukee to Create Microgrids 

UWM Researcher Works to Build Largest Microgrid 

Purchased Renewable Energy

In 2006, Governor Jim Doyle signed the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Act into law (2005 Wisconsin Act 141). In the new law, he challenged key state agencies and university campuses to purchase 10% of their energy from renewable sources.

By working with our local utility, WE Energies, UWM has been able to do this. The purchase by UW institutions as a whole comes out to 70,383,875 kWh at this time.  These are not credits, or “paper”, but rather real purchasing of renewable electricity.