Yale University is leading the way in implementing renewable energy on college campuses. In 2014, Yale’s president, Peter Salovey, announced several additional sustainability initiatives in an effort to further reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions. Incorporating solar energy production was a major part of working toward achieving their goals.
“Yale was a pioneer among universities in setting explicit goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2005, and in developing a broader university-wide Sustainability Strategic Plan in 2010,” Salovey said.
Yale’s Office of Sustainability selected SolarCity to design and install a new solar system on over 350,000 square feet of a warehouse roof on its West Campus. SolarCity offered Yale a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement, which enables the university to buy the power the system generates at a lower rate than what the local utility charges.
The solar array is expected to generate about 1.6 million kWh of electricity annually, which over the course of the contract is equal to the electricity needed to power about 130 homes in Connecticut for a year. Additionally, the system will offset the equivalent of more than 16,000 metric tons pounds of carbon dioxide over the its lifespan.
“Even though the size of the campus has grown by 14% since 2005, Yale thus far has decreased its greenhouse gas emissions by 12%, and is committed to meeting the goal of reducing campus greenhouse gas emissions 43% below 2005 levels by 2020.
The new power source at Yale represents an eight-fold increase in the university’s on-site renewable energy generation. Yale has smaller solar energy systems on Kroon Hall at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, at the Divinity School’s Fisher Hall, and at the Swing Space building. Yale also has energy-producing micro-wind turbines on the roof of its Becton Engineering and Applied Science Center.