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On Tuesday, February 26, 2019, Jin Jo presented “Promoting Sustainable Energy Infrastructure on an Academic Institution” at the 22nd Annual Energy, Utility and Environment Conference 2019 (EUEC) in San Diego, California. The conference is the largest energy, utility and environment professional networking and educational event in the United States.

The paper was the result of a research project conducted by Jin Jo and Matt Aldeman, Department of Technology faculty members at Illinois State University on the feasibility of installing parking canopies with solar photovoltaic systems and electric vehicle charging stations.

The need for clean energy production is increasing due to our society’s high energy consumption, decreasing fossil fuel reserves, and growing environmental issues. Implementation of renewable energy systems on university campuses would best demonstrate academic institutions’ efforts to promote sustainability. In this research study, multiple locations were assessed to determine the feasibility of installing parking canopies coupled with solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and to show these two systems’ effectiveness if they are implemented together.

Jo and Aldeman reviewed the trend and growing demand towards electric vehicles and examined different solar panels and mounts to find the most optimal combination for the suggested study sites. Through the data collection on the study sites and the utilization of simulation tools we were able to obtain estimations of these two systems at different sites, the energy production of the systems, and carbon emissions reduction potential. As a result of the study, three viable locations were selected to offer PV-EV parking canopies. A cost-benefit analysis was performed at each location to provide useful energy production and financial data to determine the optimal location. The results provided insightful implications to decision makers at the university. The implementation of solar PV and EV charging stations combined gives the university the ability to implement clean, renewable energy in order to show its commitment to sustainability as well as supporting the ability of students, commuters and faculty to switch from gas powered vehicles to electric vehicles.