Benjamin Moore, founder and CEO of Moore Energy Corporation, has announced a $50 million donation to the University of Texas at Dallas to build a “family constellation” of solar arrays to provide power to UTD.
Moore’s pledge comes a week after UTD and UTD Health announced the two organizations had signed an agreement to collaborate on a $2 million pilot project to create an innovative energy system for the university and to build solar farms on campus.
Moores pledge comes less than two weeks after UT’s administration, under pressure from its student population and other stakeholders, announced the closure of the UT-Dallas campus in the wake of the campus shooting that killed four people.
UTD officials also announced the university will cease operating in the fall.
The new commitment by Moores company comes in the midst of a national discussion about the power of solar, and as UTD prepares to begin a $5.6 billion plan to build its new, 350-megawatt solar facility.
The UT-Austin campus is one of a handful of solar farms in the U.S. that can generate power, and the project, which is being designed to provide up to 100 percent of the university’s annual electricity needs, is expected to be complete by the end of 2020.
Moors donation comes as the University and UT are at odds over the scope of the solar project.
UT is arguing that the UTD campus will be the first in the country to receive the new solar arrays.
UT officials say that UTD’s proposed plan to purchase the existing power grid for $1 billion will cost the university as much as $5 billion.
UT-Texas Tribune reporters Mike Farrar and Scott Satterwhite contributed to this report.