Solar power has been the cornerstone of green energy and has been used in many residential and commercial properties. The reason behind this is that solar power does not only save the planet, but it also saves a considerable amount of money.
Solar energy also gives nuclear a run for its money because it uses clean energy with no risk on any person’s life. Some communities have even adapted to a model of harvesting solar power called solar gardens or farms. Solar power is also an investment due to the incentives that solar-powered buildings get.
Additionally, the value of solar-powered buildings increases when compared to buildings that don’t have solar power. Universities have also weighed their options and some have opted to use this type of clean energy.
Which are the top 10 solar-powered universities? Let’s find out.
University of Arizona
First on the list is the University of Arizona, which started its solar power program from 2010 and continued expanding to its current 28,095 kW solar energy grid. This is by far the biggest solar power grid in any university in the U.S and it is continuing to grow.
The university even developed a program called the UA Renewable Energy Network where students can test new solar technology and demonstrate it. Under this program, the university has also developed a solar zone where students test and demonstrate solar technologies.
Arizona State University
Arizona State University trails the University of Arizona with a solar power grid of 23,567 kW. All of the campuses of this university are powered by this solar grid that started being developed in 2008. Every year, this university makes solar power that can power 3,366 houses for a whole year.
Arizona State University has also pioneered in developing the Solar Energy Engineering & Commercialization Science Master’s program. This program teaches all about making solar power an official business.
Rutgers University has three large solar installations, which generate 17,417 kW of solar energy, saving the university $220,000 in electrical costs. Their solar installation design is quite creative as they used the solar panels to shield cars from the sun in the parking lot.
They started their solar power program in 2009, where they started off with a solar power grid of 1,400 kW. The power generated by the whole power grid also reduces carbon emissions by 1,200 tons yearly.
Mount St. Mary’s University
Mount St. Mary’s University comes just after Rutgers University with a 17-kW difference. The solar power grid that produces 17,400 kW was installed in one installation that spans over 1.4 acres of land.
The ground-mounted solar farm was funded and developed under the direction of the Maryland Clean Horizons initiative. The university doesn’t use much of the energy produced by this solar farm, but the Maryland state uses the majority of the energy produced.
The green energy factor makes the staff and the students proud. Studying in any such university that is modern and following best practices is a thing of pride for its students. However, being involved in non-academic tasks might pressurize you and you might lag behind on your studies.
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Colorado State University
The Colorado State University has a solar power grid of just less than 7,000 kW that was developed in 15 installations from 2009. There is a big solar plant that was phased into two phases during installation.
Phase one installed solar power panels that could produce 2,000 kW and phase two installed solar power panels that can produce 3,300 kW. Above that, this university has other solar panels installed on rooftops of the student recreation center, the veterinary teaching hospital, the engineering wing, and the parking garage.
California State University – Fullerton
California State University Fullerton has got on with the program and made five large installations of solar power panels that have a solar capacity of 6,565 kW. This solar power grid will save the university $9 million in their electricity bill and reduce carbon emissions by 26,422 tons.
The university continues to show growth regarding their solar power grid development as they plan on adding a 3.30 MW system. This system will be mounted as parking rooftop canopies on two of the university’s parking lots.
West Hills Community College District
The West Hills Community College District has made a solar farm with the solar capacity of 6,000 kW that was installed in one installation. This college’s solar farm spans over 3.4 acres.
The solar farm has been forecasted to save more than $4.8 million in electricity bills as it currently produces 11 million kilowatt-hours per year. As of now, this solar farm installed in 2011 is making an estimated revenue of $2.1 million to $3.2 million.
U.S Air Force Training Academy
The federal facility is mandated by the government to use green energy and as a result, this facility uses solar power panels. Its setup is similar to the one used by the West Hills Community College and was installed in 2011.
The solar power panels span an area of 43 acres and have the capacity of producing 6,000 kW. This program was developed under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and has contributed to making the USAF training academy rate as a net-zero facility.
Arizona Western College
The Arizona Western College has also developed its own solar program that started being in effect from 2009. The overall solar power panel installation covers 100% of this facility’s electrical need.
The solar panel installations are also used by students and faculty to test solar technologies. The facility also uses advanced educational software for students that monitor their solar technology.
Butte College has three solar panel installations that have the capacity to make 4,616 kW when combined. Their solar panel program dates back to 2005 with its latest installation completed in 2011. The energy savings of this model are massive as it is forecasted that in the next 30 years, the college will save up to $100 million.
Solar power programs create value and the foremost of them all is cost savings in regards to their electric bills. Another important benefit for solar programs is that it offers students the resources to practically test solar technologies and learn more about them.
As solar energy continues being developed, more universities will also adapt to this technology and use it to power their schools. Even those that don’t have space to make a ground-mounted solar farm, they can use the rooftops and parking lot canopies to install solar panels. The money saved can be reinvested into developing their campuses to be more learning conducive by improving their labs and teaching resources.
Article Submitted By Community Writer