At times when it is costly to buy electricity from the grid, Caltech has installed solar panels on the rooftops of eight more of its campus buildings. The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is a private research university in Pasadena, California.
From being early birds at the student center, gym to staying up for all-night, library study sessions, student life is 24X7. This can end up meaning extreme amounts of energy consumption for universities and colleges. Eventually, the massive amounts of energy usage come with a price.
Universities in the United States are leading the way in developing, teaching as well as utilizing solar technology. The good news for colleges is that high energy consumption translates to a large potential for improving energy efficiency. That is what makes solar power attractive to places such as the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.
Bechtel Residence, Bridge, Downs Luritsen, Hameetman, Keith Spalding, Parsons Gates, South Mud, and Synchrotron are those eight buildings of Caltech’s Pasadena campus, on which a fresh installation of a total of 800 kilowatts solar energy project is completed.
In its first year of operation, the system will generate approximately 1,328 megawatt-hours (MWh). The system is capable of offsetting equivalent greenhouse gas emissions by 205 Passenger vehicles driven for one year.
The newly installed solar project is not only meant for maximizing energy production and cut expenditures but also towards carbon reduction and eventually carbon neutrality of campus.
“This project represents the culmination of a decade-long vision to build out rooftop solar across the Caltech campus,” Maximilian Christman, Caltech Sustainability Manager. He further disclosed that construction is completed on all eight sites. Solar on seven of the eight buildings is now functional, with one waiting for final permission to operate. Caltech’s Pasadena campus now hosts a total of 2MW of onsite solar.
Solar Energy Success Stories
Apart from universities and colleges, there are currently more than 3,700 solar energy systems located in public and private schools in the U.S. That means thousands of schools are already taking advantage of the cost savings that result from transitioning to a clean, inexpensive energy source.
Further Schools, Colleges, and Universities have an architectural advantage over many homes. Their large, flat rooftops provide the perfect space for maximizing the amount of energy solar panels can generate. Even school parking lots can be outfitted with solar PV canopies. These solar PV canopies provide shade as well as generate energy on sunny days. There are already some good examples of how cutting energy costs by utilizing solar energy has benefitted our institutions, businesses, and our lives.
Changing the Future with Solar Energy
From creating efficient solar technology to educating a whole new generation of clean energy enthusiasts, US universities are at the forefront of the solar revolution. By sowing the seeds for a brighter future, these universities are directing student potential to make life on Earth better with each passing day.
Perhaps most importantly, installing solar systems in schools and colleges is a great way to teach demonstrate how science, math, and engineering contribute to sustainability–and how sustainability is relevant to us all. Teaching and learning to create a better future is what schools and universities are all about. Some of the most important lessons aren’t about just learning scientific facts, but how to use those facts to make life more worth living for everyone.
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