April 4, 2024

Universities Embrace Solar Integration into Energy Sources

Princeton University plans to increase its solar integration by setting up four solar installations throughout its campus in New Jersey, while Northeastern University marks the completion of a significant rooftop solar initiative at the Snell Library downtown.

Increasing numbers of colleges and universities are embracing solar energy on their premises. They acknowledge the potential for solar installations to ease financial strain, support sustainability targets, and offer valuable hands-on learning experiences for future leaders.

Princeton University Partners with Brightcore Energy for Campus Solar Integration


Princeton University has unveiled its intention to incorporate solar rooftop and canopy-mounted structures across its campus in Princeton, New Jersey. Brightcore Energy, specializing in renewable energy solutions for commercial and institutional sectors, is spearheading a series of solar projects in collaboration with Princeton's facilities organization.

According to a report by BusinessWire, the initiative encompasses four arrays, with two to be mounted on rooftops and two on canopies, totalling around 2.2MWdc in capacity. Rooftop installations are slated for the Tiger and Cub buildings, while canopy-mounted arrays will grace the Meadows and Stadium garages. 

Capacity and Impact of the Solar Integration


These arrays, comprising 4,039 panels, are projected to generate approximately 2,588 MWh of electricity annually, with construction expected to commence in the summer of 2024. The release stated.

Upon completion, the operational solar arrays are anticipated to prevent roughly 1,834 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year from entering the atmosphere. This endeavour aligns with Princeton University's commitment to achieving net carbon neutrality by 2046, a pivotal element of its Sustainability Action Plan that emphasizes the adoption of renewables as the primary energy source on campus.

Expressing pride in their selection for the project, Mike Richter, President of Brightcore, lauded Princeton University for its rigorous standards and visionary sustainability goals. He emphasized the institution's leadership and expressed excitement about contributing to its ambitious sustainability agenda.

Northeastern University Goes Solar


Moving northward, Northeastern University in Boston has recently finalized the installation of a 158 kWp rooftop solar system on its library.

Ameresco, Inc., a leading clean technology integrator, has completed a substantial solar project at Northeastern University in Boston, installing an on-grid rooftop solar system atop the historic Snell Library building. With a capacity of 157.78 kWp DC, the system provides power to the library, which sees over two million visitors yearly.

The solar system became operational on March 13, 2024, and is expected to offset 146 metric tons of carbon (CO2) emissions annually, following successful commissioning. Ameresco announced this development on Wednesday through Smart Energy Decisions.

Northeastern University's focus on environmentally responsible strategies for decarbonizing its campus is evident in the completion of the Snell Library Rooftop Solar Installation. Situated in downtown Boston, the university's campus serves as a hub for vibrant communities, showcasing the innovative integration of urban on-grid solar PV technology at the Snell Library. This project underscores the potential of clean and renewable energy to drive sustainability while supporting community goals.

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Northeastern University Marks Milestone with Solar Installation Celebration


In honour of this significant installation, Northeastern University hosted a "flip the switch" ceremony on April 2nd, 2024, at the Snell Library Quad. The event featured speakers such as Michael Williamson from Ameresco, Leah Bamberger from Northeastern’s Climate Justice and Sustainability Hub, Dan Cohen, the Vice Provost for Information Collaboration and Dean of the University Library, and a current student from Northeastern.

Pete Christakis, Executive Vice President of Ameresco's East Region, emphasized the significance of the solar installation as a milestone in Northeastern University's journey towards decarbonization. “This solar installation represents a key milestone on Northeastern University’s path to decarbonisation, and Ameresco is honoured to partner with the University on their journey,” He noted.

Leah Bamberger, Executive Director of Northeastern’s Climate Justice and Sustainability Hub, highlighted the importance of the project amid ongoing efforts to eliminate harmful emissions from the university's buildings. “This project comes at an important time as we are developing plans to fully decarbonize our buildings and eliminate harmful emissions,” Leah said.

As universities continue to prioritize sustainability and renewable energy integration, initiatives like these set an example for campuses worldwide, demonstrating the potential of solar energy to drive meaningful environmental change.


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