The Future of Solar Power in Acadiana

With green energy becoming more viable what does the future of energy look like in the region?

Posted: Feb 4, 2021 5:34 PM
Updated: Feb 5, 2021 9:16 AM

Look up on most days here in Acadiana and you’ll see sunshine. You’ll also be looking at one of the most promising sources of energy here in the state.

“Most of the new electrical generation from now on will be in solar and wind.”

And there is a reason why local experts like Terrance Chambers a professor at UL Lafayette and a member of the Governor’s Climate Task Force sees solar as an important part of the state’s future.

A 2020 report from the financial firm Lazard ranks solar power as the cheapest form of electricity to create and along with the push from both state and federal entities to reduce carbon emissions it only makes sense that solar sites will become more prominent across Louisiana.

When it comes to green energy there is always a concern for the jobs that are dependant on the oil and gas industry but Chambers says the state is in a great position to pivot to an economy based on gas and renewables.
“In order to transform our economy to the new clean economy, we’re going to have to train a lot of people for these new types of jobs and that’s where I think the University plays a role. We can play a role both in educating at higher ed for the engineers and the technologists, and partner with our community colleges for workforce development for training the technicians that would be installing solar and even the offshore wind.”

That work begins with the 1.1 Megawatt UL Solar Lab which provides power to the university but also hopes to provide jobs for students by teaching them about solar technologies.

Current plans see expansion to the site this year which will provide more opportunities to students as well as possibly training Louisianans on the emerging renewables industry in the state.

From Sunny, Lafayette, Louisiana I am Storm Track 15 Meteorologist Cory Smith

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