Zamorano boosts environmental solutions for the care and welfare of the planet, by creating products and teaching with a focus on sustainability, so students learn and replicate the benefits of clean energy.
As part of its global sustainable vision, Zamorano inaugurated Phase II of its solar park. This expansion of the renewable energy resource allows the university to join in innovation with a cutting-edge technology to strengthen education, environmental management and the fight against climate change. This in addition to supporting responsible production as a result of sustainable feeding systems. The project allows the faculty to contribute responsibly to the Sustainable Development Goals (ODS) set forth by the United Nations. The project contributes to the following UN objectives: Affordable and non-polluting energy, industry, innovation and infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities and climate action.
Phase II marks Zamorano´s rank as one of the first universities in the region to have a solar park on campus supplying the demands for energy, and reducing the emission annually of approximately 1200 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. The increase in clean energy to the university’s energy matrix will allow from this year forward an installed capacity of 1.25 Mega watts (MWp). With this project Zamorano reduces electric energy consumption, a part of which is generated by fossil fuel sources, by 38%.
Lic. Luis Umaña-Timms, Zamorano´s Financial Vice President shared, “We celebrate the inauguration of this Phase II of the Solar Park because in conjunction with the first phase, it allows us to generate more than 25% of the energy we consume on campus. We maximize the opportunity to teach our students that it is possible to operate using clean energy”.
According to Ing. Erika Tenorio, Environmental Science and Development Director, the implementation of this Phase II “is an important step in reducing our carbon footprint. In addition to generating renewable energy, we expect that this space will inspire the Zamorano community and that the students will learn that they can use these clean technologies and transfer them to promote development in their communities and countries.”
Fraterno Vila, President of Enertiva, the company in charge of constructing both stages of the solar park, said, “For Enertiva is a matter of great pride being able to cooperate with Zamorano. We are very pleased to be part of the implementation of this unique project that includes one axis trackers to make the most of the sun´s movements. This positions Zamorano as a front runner institution and a leading example, not only at the educational level but also at the corporate level, in Latin America.”
Dra. Victoria Cortés, Zamorano´s Renewable Energy Director, reported that “The way data is transferred and analyzed as regards the way energy is used allows us to have a larger curve of electricity generation throughout the day. This platform represents an enormous opportunity for data generation, information and research. In addition, it enriches our faculty’s experiences and generates important data at the Central American region level”.
Phase I has 2,940 polycrystalline solar panels with a 926.4 kilowatt peak. Phase II has 864 solar panels of 465 W, for an installed potency of 402 kilowatt peak (kWp). This will allow the generation of 712 Megawatts per hour, annually (MWh/per year). This cutting-edge technology means the half cell solar panels will perform better and have a larger installed power per area unit. These characteristics of the second phase contribute to Zamorano´s overall academic objectives.
Luis Carlos Morazán, 4th year student in the Environment and Development Department expressed “Renewable energy is crucial to reach sustainable development, therefore it represents an important subject in our training. Zamorano´s program teached us about renewable energy using a combination of courses and its Learning by Doing program. We have the opportunity to learn in real-life settings about the use of these types of energies as well as to identify the potential of these technologies for generating solutions to current environmental challenges”.
Clean energy is injected onto the power grid that runs all over campus and which is used to fuel laboratories, production plants, teaching and residential areas. Phase II of the solar park is in addition to other strategic and sustainable initiatives on campus. These focus on the efficient use of water for production and domestic purposes, responsible use of land, increased use of biological control organisms for crop diseases prevention, and forest and watershed protection among others.