The University of North Florida School of Engineering and Florida public power utility JEA on Nov. 28 celebrated the opening of the JEA Sustainable Solutions Lab.
JEA has made a five-year financial commitment of $500,000 that will provide UNF undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to research renewable energy and, eventually, clean water technologies, as well.
“JEA and UNF share a common goal of ensuring a robust pool of trained and environmentally conscious engineers, scientists and other industry professionals to contribute to the responsible economic development of Northeast Florida. The lab will serve as a hub for research to develop long-range and lasting solutions for JEA and a variety of industries,” JEA said.
As JEA prepares for a more sustainable and distributed energy future, “collaborations like these are critical to developing a workforce prepared to meet our community’s energy and water needs,” it said.
“JEA’s mission is to improve lives and build community, and this collaboration is a testament to that,” JEA Chief Operating Officer Raynetta Curry Marshall said at the ceremony. “The lab will help establish a pipeline of talented professionals ready to contribute to JEA’s clean energy goals for Northeast Florida.”
The collaboration between JEA and UNF began in 2001 with $500,000 in contributions made between 2001-2004. Since then, the JEA/UNF efforts have resulted in more than $18 million in federal, state, and private industry funded research at UNF.
JEA’s recent commitment of $500,000 will be made over five years, at a rate of $100,000 per year from 2023–27.
A small-scale 2-kilowatt microgrid solar panel system is under development at the lab site. UNF also has plans for a 40-kilowatt demonstration microgrid solar panel system.