Princeton University is planning to build a 27-acre solar field consisting of 16,500 photovoltaic panels making it the largest solar field for any US college or university. It will produce enough energy to power 700 households. The EPA estimates that the solar array is equivalent of taking more than 1,200 cars off the road, which translates to a reduction of 3,090 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.
The solar array is part of Princeton’s 2008 sustainability plan to reduce its carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. SunPower Corp. is buidling the solar array, which will produce at least 8 million kilowatts per year, while powering more than 5 percent of the school’s power requirements and reducing energy costs by 8 percent.
Princeton will use New Jersey’s Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) program, to help pay for the cost of the array. Under the program, the state will issue one SREC for every 1,000 kilowatt hours of energy produced by the solar array until 2020. The university will then sell the credits to a utility company.