Sun Devils Live Up to Their Name: ASU is First Higher-Ed Campus With 10 MW Solar Capacity

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The Sun Devils surely started the season right this year but in even better news, Arizona State University (ASU) has become the only higher education institution in the United States to have a solar-energy capacity exceeding 10 megawatts (MW). This is enough renewable energy to power 2,500 Arizona homes and represents roughly 20 percent of ASU’s peak load, reducing the university’s carbon footprint between 5 to 10 percent.

Per the press release, pushing ASU past the 10 MW mark is its latest 700-panel, 168-kilowatt (kW), ground-mount photovoltaic installation on its Tempe campus.

ASU President Michael Crow said,

“Surpassing 10 megawatts of solar energy capacity is a tremendous accomplishment for ASU and our partners. Over the years we have made several major commitments to sustainability, such as establishing the first school devoted to sustainability, raising awareness of how to live sustainable lives and finding ways to harness natural resources, like our abundance of sunshine. By doing these things, we are making a brighter future for ourselves and the place in which we live.”

ASU’s solar energy installations that are mounted on the top floors of parking structures and buildings have multiple benefits; they provide shade from the fierce Arizona sun, and also provide ASU with potential energy cost-savings opportunities in the future.

ASU began taking advantage of its geographic location to utilize solar energy in October 2004, with a 34-kW installation at the Tyler Street parking structure on its Tempe campus and is advancing an unparalleled effort to install nearly 16 MW of solar power across its campuses.

Two of the largest installations are located at the Sun Devil Stadium Parking Structure which houses a 711 kW photovoltaic system and the roof of the Apache Boulevard Parking Structure that houses an 880 kW photovoltaic system, the largest in the ASU Solarization Initiative.

The parking structure arrays generate energy for internal lights and provide shade for parked cars during the day. The receptors on the solar arrays produce energy during peak energy and parking demand hours, allowing the university to conserve energy and reduce harmful emissions. Six of the Tempe campus parking structures uses light emitting-diode (LED) fixtures that reduce annual energy consumption in those structures by 59 percent.

Visit ASU’s website to learn about their other all-round sustainability initiatives!



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