With colleges and universities constantly expanding and developing, it is a wonder that this academic world hasn’t adopted solar energy sooner. The cost efficiency and environmental benefits provided by solar are now attracting universities to add solar panels to their campuses, or buy solar power from solar farms. Most universities have a large footprint, spending tens of thousands or even millions of dollars to power their campus annually. The cost savings associated with solar allows universities to repurpose their savings to better use within the school. Additionally, as universities are often community leaders, their investment in solar further establishes their role in community development.
Last month, American University and George Washington University signed a 20-year agreement with Duke Energy Renewables to purchase over half their power from a solar farm in North Carolina. The project, the Capital Partners Solar Project, will feature 243,000 solar panels that produce 123 million Kwh of electricity each year – that’s enough energy to power 8,000 homes. This project is the largest non-utility solar PV power purchase in the nation. In addition to its economic impact, Duke Energy estimates that this project will eliminate approx. 60,000 tons of carbon emissions per year, through the clean power generated by the farms.
American University and George Washington University currently spend an annual average of $13 million and $5 million to power their schools. Both universities hope that investing in solar farms will substantially reduce their future energy costs.
From coast to coast, solar energy has captivated the nation’s universities with its cost efficiency and environmental conservation abilities. With the help of Duke Energy’s solar power farms, American University and George Washington University are acting as a model for other institutions to follow, leading the country to a bright and solar powered tomorrow.