Construction of the $125 million UQ Warwick Solar Farm is now under way.

The project was officially launched by Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC) Mayor Tracy Dobie and University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj.

Professor Høj said the event marked a significant milestone for UQ, which will become the world’s first major university to offset 100 per cent of its electricity use from its own renewable energy asset.

“At UQ, we are unashamedly committed to being a leader in sustainability and the renewable energy sector,” Professor Høj said.

“We are proud to become a part of the Southern Downs community through this project, and to help generate regional jobs in our home state.

“This will become a centrepiece of our education and research into renewables, and the Southern Downs region can expect regular visitors from UQ and further afield over the 25-year life of the solar farm.”

More than 45 workers are already on site, with the number expected to exceed 160 at the peak of construction.

The UQ Warwick Solar Farm is scheduled to be completed late this year, and will employ about half a dozen staff – including a UQ facility manager – on an on-going basis.

The 64-megawatt solar farm is expected to be generating power by early 2020.

Professor Høj said UQ uses a large amount of energy to power laboratories, lecture theatres, libraries and other facilities for its 52,000 students and thousands of staff.

“Our solar farm will generate 160,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy each year, displacing carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to taking almost 50,000 cars off the road,” he said.