In a recent news post from news.stanford.edu, Stanford University has announced plans to go 100 percent solar by 2021.
The university signed a contract with Recurrent Energy for an 88 megawatt solar pv plant to be completed and delivering electricity by 2021. This 88 MW will be on top of an already 72 MW of solar already being utilitized by Stanford. This date set puts the university well ahead of California’s state wide goal of being fully renewable energy powered by 2045.
Two major solar installations and 5 MW of on-campus rooftop comprise Stanford’s 100 percent solar presence. Stanford Solar Generating Station #1 and the one to be completed by 2021, the Stanford Solar Generating Station #2, are located nearby in Rosamond and Lemoore, respectively.
Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Stanford’s president, stated – “As a university, we are pursuing an ambitious plan to further reduce our carbon footprint, and our second solar plant is a critical new component of that plan.” Mr. Tessier-Lavigne also stated that sustainability has been an ongoing goal for the university. The institution is not only doing its part to meet the state’s overall goal, but also sustainability practices have been incorporated into the university’s programs for student to learn from.
Major steps for university to become more sustainable began in 2008. New buildings had to meet new high-efficiency standards and new thermal management systems were incorporated. The first major solar pv plant was completed and online by 2016. This plant, along with efficiency improvements, enabled Stanford to bring their total greenhouse gas emissions from a peak of 240,000 metric tons per year to less than 100,000 metric tons per year. Of course, in three short years that number will drop to zero.
While the campus is not directly connected to their large solar pv installations, the university’s carbon footprint will be offset because the amount of electricity generated by the plants will be the same as what it draws from the grid.
Quite a few colleges and universities are pursuing their own solar projects to be community sustainability leaders as well. Those that haven’t yet will soon surely follow the lead set by Stanford and other universities.