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Solar projects to detour pedestrian traffic on Tempe campus

June 13, 2013

Work on a pair of solar projects this summer will have an impact on foot traffic at the heart of the ASU Tempe campus.

When complete, the two PowerParasol systems developed by Tempe-based Strategic Solar Energy are expected to produce enough electricity to power 128 homes annually.

Memorial Union

Crews will begin installation on June 18 of a PowerParasol solar power plant and shade structure directly north and west of the Memorial Union, at the intersection of Orange Mall and Cady Mall.

Pedestrian access will be restricted on Orange and Cady Malls until mid-August. The Memorial Union project should be fully complete by November 2013.

Visitors to the Memorial Union this summer can access the building from entrances on the north, west and south. Foot traffic will be rerouted around the construction zone and pedestrians are encouraged to follow detour signs and exercise caution while travelling near the site, said Karl Edelhoff, ASU solar project manager.

Gammage Parkway

Solar arrays will be erected in the medians of Gammage Parkway, north of Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium and south of the Farmer Education and the School of Music buildings.

Construction crews will fence off the area around the medians at the beginning of July. Metered parking on the north and south sides of Gammage Parkway will close until the project is complete in November. According to Edelhoff, contractors do not anticipate any road closures on Gammage Parkway, but pedestrians and drivers should exercise caution in these areas as well.

“These projects are the first deployment of the PowerParasols over pedestrian space,” said David Brixen, associate vice president for ASU Facilities Development and Management. “They are designed to create the most dramatic pedestrian experience of any campus solar array.”

Besides shading pedestrian areas, the 25 and 35-foot-high PowerParasols will provide nighttime lighting for better security. The structures will allow some natural sunlight to shine through, creating comfortable, functional environments, Edelhoff said.

The total cost of the ASU-owned projects is $6 million. The custom steel structures, designed by Debartolo Architects and built by Hardison/Downey Construction, will hold 3,096 panels and are estimated to generate 1,477,611 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year.

“These projects solidify the university’s commitment to renewable energy and sustainability.” Brixen said.

ASU solar-system installations on the Tempe campus are facilitated, in part, by Arizona Public Service's Renewable Energy Incentive Program. By November 2013, all four ASU campuses and the ASU Research Park are projected to have solar power generating systems totaling 23.6 megawatts DC, producing more than 41 million kWh of electricity a year.

For more information about ASU solar projects under construction, visit the ASU Solarization website.

Karl Edelhoff,
Facilities Development and Management