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Stanford University completes ambitious project,32 of its buildings outfitted with solar photovoltaic panels


One of the most ambitious projects at Stanford University, launched over five years ago, has now come to a conclusion. Recently, 15 Stanford buildings joined what is now a constellation of 32 structures with solar photovoltaic panels on their rooftops producing electricity for the Farm.

Stanford University launched its plan in 2012, when the Department of Sustainability and Energy Management sought proposals from 20 solar companies to expand the university’s rooftop solar resources. According to a press release, in 2014, the university chose 15 buildings for the project based on a variety of factors, including aesthetic concerns, orientation, roof size and slope, and construction issues. Construction began in May 2016 and it concluded in February 2017.

The 15 buildings will provide an additional 4.5 megawatts of power for the campus, Scott Gould, senior energy engineer at Stanford, said. The solar panels provide power within Stanford’s electric distribution system.

The campus solar systems, plus the Stanford Solar Generating Station, which began operating in December 2016, will produce 53 percent of the university’s electricity. After drawing on its solar resources, Stanford will purchase the balance of its electricity from the larger California power grid, which also is moving toward renewable energy sources, including solar, wind and geothermal.

“The addition of on-site solar generation not only reduces the overall cost of electricity supply to our buildings, but will also help offset new campus electrical loads from plug-in buses and cars to help preserve the capacity of our campus high-voltage distribution system to support additional teaching and research activities,” Joseph Stagner, executive director of the Department of Sustainability and Energy Management at Stanford, said.

Including the newly outfitted buildings, Stanford has 32 structures producing electricity with solar panels.

John Michaelle

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