Stanford University has partnered with SunPower to install a 5,500 kW rooftop solar PV system and build a 68,000 kW off-campus solar energy plant. By 2017, solar panels will make up half of the university’s electricity supply.
The project is a part of the Stanford Energy Systems Innovations (SESI) project, an effort to reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Along with the new PV system and the solar farm, called the Stanford Solar Generating Station, SESI installed the new Central Energy Facility (CEF) to meet most of the campus’s heating demands. The university now uses electricity to produce chilled water and relies on a new electric heat recovery system to create hot water. This shift in energy use created the opportunity to introduce more solar production.
SESI’s implementation meant shutting down the now-obsolete cogeneration plant across from Stanford Hospital, which previously supplied almost all of the university’s energy. When SESI installation and construction is finished before the end of 2016, renewable energy will supply 65 percent of all campus electricity, and 53 percent will come from the solar plant and the new panel installations on campus.
Stanford selected SunPower, a San Jose-based solar technology company, as a partner for the project from an initial group of about 20 companies.