02/09/2009 02:31 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Princeton installing 2nd biggest campus solar array in East

I'm proud to share the news that my graduate alma mater is completing a 370-kW solar installation on one of its rooftops. I remember hearing early word about the project just a year and a half ago, and now it is already becoming a reality. While this system is much smaller than many installations popping up all over California colleges and universities, it is the second biggest in the East, after a 454 kW system at another New Jersey campus, Monmouth University. Rutgers University is expected to up the ante when it completes a 1.4 MW solar farm by the end of the Spring. The state of New Jersey supports such installations through its Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) program.


Located off the main campus, the Princeton building is home to the Research Collections and Preservations Consortium (ReCAP), a collaborative initiative with Columbia University and the NY Public Library. The solar system includes ~5,000 panels covering ~53,000 square feet of roofspace. It will offset much of the building's power needs, and may provide all its power during periods of low heating or cooling demand. The main investor for the project is Pennsylvania Power & Light, who can sell the SRECs and benefits from an investment tax credit.

This is a great step in the right direction for Princeton University. And I hope it will be the first of many sizable renewable energy applications to continue to drive downward the carbon intensity of Princeton endeavors. SET's Princeton Alumni for Climate Excellence (PACE) effort aims to support a commitment to climate responsibility (at least 25% below 1990 levels by 2020) and climate neutrality by 2030 through further deployment of solar, wind, and geothermal alongside its efficient natural gas cogeneration facility.

For alumni that haven't endorsed the PACE statement yet, please do so here.

Onwards in the Sustainable Energy Transition-