Its Energy Institute is recognized as the oldest solar energylaboratory in the country, having hosted a slew of solar-power researchfor the past 40 years. Yet, since the beginning, UD’s solar energy labhas been powered by conventional electricity. That’s all about tochange, as UD will soon make the leap from a non-solar school to one ofthe biggest solar-energy producers in all of Delaware.
Earlier this fall, the university began installing a solar energy system that’s capable of generating one megawatt (MW) of solar energy at peakcapacity. When combined with other solar photovoltaic (PV) panels — tobe installed around the University’s Newark Campus — the 1-MW systemwill help cut the school’s energy costs by over $30,000 each year.
Standard Solar — which has an office in Newark, DE — will cover the tab of installingthe system. UD will have to invest about $90,000 of its own money toreconfigure older rooftops to be able to accomodate the new solarequipment. The university will then purchase the power from StandardSolar at a rate of 15 percent less than what the University currentlypays for energy.
UD will soon have company, as other solar-powered campuses spring upacross Delaware. Widener Law School’s Delaware Campus in New CastleCounty – which earned “Magna Cum Laude” status in a national list of top green schools — is exploring its potential to install solar.Additionally, Wesley College in Dover will invest $2.5 million in energy system upgrades. All of the above projects were helped by a newDelaware law passed last summer requiring utility companies to receive25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025.
Image: The University of Delaware’s Energy Institute, which warrecognized by the U.S. Government as a “Center for Excellence” in solareducation and research in the early 1990?s, will soon be solar-powered.