Princeton University will soon be home to a 5.3MW solar system thanks to a partnership between Princeton, SunPower and Key Equipment Finance. Construction is currently pending on approvals from local and state authorities, but has the potential to begin this summer with completion in summer 2012. The solar installation will be built on 27 acres of land that Princeton owns in West Windsor Township.
With the potential to produce 8 million kWh per year and using 16,500 solar PV panels, SunPower notes that this can be one of the biggest single solar installations at a U.S. college or university. The installation will be funded and owned by Superior and leased to Princeton, who in turn will sell the solar renewable energy credits (SREC) over the life of the lease to help pay for financing.
“We are excited at the prospect of realizing the environmental and economic benefits of solar, while also taking a leadership role in advancing renewable energy in a way that could work for many other educational institutions,” said Michael McKay, Princeton's vice president for facilities. “In addition to providing a portion of the electricity needs of the main campus, we hope our approach will serve as a national model. We also envision that this system will be used as a teaching tool for Princeton students in various disciplines.”
The system will be mounted on 4- to 5-foot poles that face south. Around 80% of the system will have SunPower’s T0 Trackers, while the remainder of the installation will have fixed tilt panels at 25 degrees. Princeton is looking to use a continuous real-time data stream so that faculty, students and researches can have access to the system and its performance.
“Both Princeton University and SunPower have outstanding reputations as organizations that are leading the way in their respective disciplines and it is our pleasure to work with such esteemed and forward-thinking institutions,” said David ten Kroode, vice president of Key Equipment Finance's energy finance business. “It is our hope that the project at Princeton will serve as a national model and that colleges and universities across the U.S. will soon recognize the same energy- and cost-savings through the use of photovoltaic solar installations.”