The 9H Research Foundation (9H) and the University of Wyoming are partnering to create a student research facility that includes a 3 MW solar installation, part of a larger goal to establish a clean energy engineering curriculum at UW.
The installation is intended to return $10 million in clean energy and support services to the university. First Solar is making a donation valued at $300,000 that includes more than 2,000 of First Solar’s Series 6 thin film modules, totaling nearly 1 MW of capacity. The remaining 2 MW of capacity will also use Series 6 modules.
The project will be constructed at the 9H Ranch near the university, on land owned by 9H co-founder and UW alumnus, Gene Humphrey.
9H is sponsoring a yearlong renewable energy design challenge for UW engineering seniors. With this latest project, 9H plans to hire additional student interns as well as funding $15,000 worth of projects for seven student groups to design and build solar and energy storage projects out of the new research facility.
Support for solar energy research and development at the state-funded university in Wyoming is especially significant, considering the state’s solar history.
To date, the state has installed roughly 140 MW of solar, good for 40th most in the nation, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). SEIA projects the state will add 178 MW of PV over the next five years, making it 47th in the nation over that span.