Stanford University has upgraded its commitment to solar energy by announcing that the installation of solar arrays on 16 buildings across campus and the construction of a 67-megawatt solar farm for its energy needs are near completion. The university projects that the 150,000-panel solar farm near Rosamund, CA, and the rooftop solar arrays on campus will provide 53 percent of its electric needs.
“We have been engaged in a major effort to make Stanford one of the most energy-efficient universities in the world, and this expansion of our solar resources will make a dramatic difference. Clean, renewable energy will become the dominant part of Stanford’s energy mix, and its proportion in that mix will continue to grow over time,” said Joseph Stagner, executive director of sustainability and energy management at Stanford.
The new additions to its energy portfolio are part of Stanford’s Stanford Energy Systems Innovations (SESI), a proactive approach to campus sustainability. Including the 47 percent of grid-supplied energy the university uses, Stanford will get 65 percent of its power from clean energy sources by the end of 2016. The local utility already gets 25 percent of its energy from renewables. That figure will grow until 2030 as state law dictates that 50 percent of the power produced in California come from renewable energy sources.
At Stanford, SESI is setting efficiency standards for new and existing buildings, investing in research of renewable technology and establishing university-wide policies and programs that encourage students to develop a green lifestyle that they can bring to society beyond their years at Stanford. To that end, SESI installed a heat recovery system to cool and heat buildings campus wide which is expected to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 68 percent annually—equal to the carbon footprint of 32,000 cars.
The new installations show that not only is the university using solar power itself, it’s also innovating the future of solar power. For instance, Stanford and University of California at Berkeley have also developed a way to inexpensively store excess renewable energy in the ground and water.
University campuses across the US are becoming microcosmic examples of how solar and progressive development of renewable resources can be applied nationwide. In addition to Stanford, the California State University system has made strides toward its plans to be climate neutral by 2030 by installing SunPower’s Helix solar carports at 23 campuses. The largest solar carport will produce 4.8 megawatts of solar power at the Long Beach campus.Tweet