SCU has 1,050 kilowatts of solar panels on four of its buildings, making it the third largest roof- top system among all American colleges and universities. The system generates 1.5 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy and eliminates 511 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. That’s equivalent to taking 127 small cars off the road for an entire year. Among the many initiatives
it’s launched, SCU has been adding more solar panels to help the University reach its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2015.
The AASHE Campus Solar Photovoltaic Installations database found that converting to solar energy is becoming easier for higher education institutions like SCU because of a 40 percent drop in installation costs over the past four years and new financing mechanisms to hedge against rising electricity prices. The data also revealed that installed solar capacity jumped 450 percent over the past three years in the higher education sector. Furthermore:
- The 137 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity installed on higher education campuses to date is equivalent to the power used by 40,000 U.S. homes.
- The market in 2010 for on-campus solar installations was over $300 million in the U.S.
- Higher education solar installations in 2010 made up 5.4 percent of the total 956 MW installed that year in the U.S.
- Since 2009, the median project size has grown six-fold.
- Only five states installed more solar in 2010 than the 52 MW installed on U.S. campuses in 2010.
Charts and additional analysis from AASHE are available here
Learn more about Santa Clara University’s sustainability efforts here