Tuesday, February 8, 2011

University plans solar panel field

University plans solar panel field

The University will install one of the largest solar collector fields at any U.S. college as early as summer 2012, according to a University statement released Wednesday.

The 5.3-megawatt system, which will include 16,500 photovoltaic panels, will be located on 27 University-owned acres between the Dinky, the Delaware & Raritan Canal, Washington Road and Route 1. It is expected to generate roughly 5.5 percent of the campus’ electrical power and reduce energy costs by about 8 percent.

“The fact that a solar energy project like this can be done on a scale where it’s not just tokenism is important,” University Vice President for Facilities Michael McKay said in an interview. “Being able to demonstrate that you can do something cost effectively with renewable energy is extremely important.”

The University intends to pay for the project through a distinct funding model. It will partly pay for the solar collector field under the New Jersey’s Solar Renewable Energy Certificate program, through which the state will issue one SREC to the University for every 1,000 kilowatt-hours of solar energy it generates, until 2020.

The University will sell the credits to a utility company to help offset the costs of the project until 2020, after which it will retire the credits by ceasing to sell them in order to help reduce carbon dioxide emission levels.

The solar collector field is expected to last for at least 30 years. It will be funded by environmental incentives under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The system itself will be owned and funded by Key Equipment Finance, a company that provides financing solutions for various organizations. Key Equipment Finance will lease the photovoltaic cells to the University for a lower rate reflecting the federal incentives.

“What’s more important than the size of the project is the leadership role we’re taking,” said University energy plant manager Ted Borer in the University statement. “We’re using a business model for the system that others will want to adopt.”

Anumakonda Jagadeesh comments:

Excellent. Princeton University is one of the prestigious Universities where Innovation is a Must. Solar PV is the future energy option in the Energy Mix. The Solar Installations will act as catalyst for other Universities to emulate. Congratulations Princeton University for the fine Clean Energy Initiative.

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