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Colleges Add Solar Power

From the east to the west coast, colleges and universities are either adding or expanding their solar power portfolios, helping them to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. A few of the latest additions include Cal State San Bernardino and the University of Delaware.

Cal State San Bernardino is adding a ground-mounted solar farm designed to meet more of the university’s energy demands, which should be operational by the end of August, reports The Sun. The fixed-axis, ground-mounted system, which will be installed by SunEdison on 3.5 acres of land, is expected to generate 750 kilowatts of electrical power.

The school says the site will complement the installation of roof-mounted solar panels, which were completed this month on top of the university’s college of education building.

The two projects, combined with existing solar panels on the roof of the physical education building and the roof of the health and physical education complex, will generate 28.8 percent of the 4,500 kilowatts of electricity that the university requires during its peak hours of daytime energy usage.

The panels are installed and owned by third-party investors and the university pays for the electricity generated by the photovoltaic system. Tony Simpson, senior director of facilities services told The Sun the cost per kilowatt hour is currently less than purchasing the power from the local utility company.

The university says it has reduced 502.2 metric tons of greenhouse gases since the solar panel system on the physical education buildings has been activated.

Along with cost savings, Cal State San Bernardino has reduced its overall carbon footprint by 15 percent, which translates into a reduction of nearly 2,000 metric tons of carbon-dioxide emissions on campus.

Cal State San Bernardino also has plans to install two wind turbines on campus, reports The Sun. One is currently under construction next to the observatory and the other will be installed near the university east parking structure. The turbines are expected to be functional later this summer.

On the other side of the country, the University of Delaware (UD) plans to install multiple solar arrays to support the university’s sustainable energy efforts. The university’s initial solar array will include more than 2000 panels to yield an 850-kilowatt solar electric system. Once completed, the solar system is expected to generate approximately 1035 kilowatt hours of electricity each year and cut carbon-dioxide emissions by 1,810,000 pounds annually.

The array will be installed by Standard Solar and jointly developed, owned and operated with its joint venture partner Perpetual Energy Systems (PES).

The solar system will be funded in part from its 2009 senior class gift, which was earmarked for solar initiatives on campus. The university’s research in solar energy has resulted in the development of 10 new technologies, eight of which are now patented, and 60 percent of these solar innovations have been licensed, all to U.S. companies.

The solar panels will be installed over three buildings throughout the school’s main campus in Newark. According to the university, the largest array of solar panels, which is planned for the Delaware Field House, will be the largest single rooftop installation in the state of Delaware.

The state of Hawaii also is seeing an uptick in solar projects, including six community colleges that are planning on installing solar panels.

In April, The Ivy League, led by the University of Pennsylvania, topped the Environmental Protection Agency’s College and University Green Power Challenge that recognizes collegiate athletic conferences with the highest combined green power purchases in the nation.

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5 thoughts on “Colleges Add Solar Power

  1. “The state of Hawaii also is seeing an uptick in solar projects, including six community colleges that are planning on installing solar panels.”

    I can say that also the state of Israel?

  2. A staggering six billion dollars – that is the annual energy bill to run America’s primary and secondary schools. Colleges and universities are also spending billions each year on energy. The least-efficient schools use three times more energy than the best energy performers. But schools in Hawaii can lower their energy bills by 30% or more by adopting a strategic approach to energy management…

  3. While many universities are investing in solar power, most are overlooking simple energy efficiency improvements. Installing solar is as much about establishing “green credibility” with students, alumni, and other benefactors as it is about improving the environment. If colleges really wanted to reduce their environmental impact, there are lower cost investments that would significantly decrease their overall energy consumption. Something as simply as standardizing temperature settings in all campus buildings could save thousands of kWh per year. We need solar investment, and investment in other “alternative” energy sources, but the best way to help the environment is to reduce consumption.

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