Higher education is one of the many industries that can benefit from solar energy. Of course, there are challenges to placing solar panels on school sites, but those challenges are easy to overcome with smart design techniques. Here’s a look at how to design solar installations for college campuses.
The Challenges of Solar for College Campuses
Small Property Size: Not every college campus has sprawling acreage on which to place a solar array. The smaller the campus, the more challenging it is to place enough solar panels to impact energy needs positively. It requires an innovative design to produce the most energy from the acreage through smart solar panel installations.
A smart solar design for college campuses can:
- Create a double usage for space
- Safely collect solar radiation
- Positively impact the amount of energy produced on even smaller campuses
Space with two or more uses
Parking lots are an excellent example of a space where solar panel installation creates additional usage from a large and single-use space. By installing solar panels above a parking lot, college campuses gain several positive benefits.
- Shaded parking for students and faculty
- A large area for solar collection, which means more incoming solar electricity for the campus.
While they provide the benefit of fee collection for parking, parking lots are generally a single-use structure. By pairing solar and parking, campuses of all sizes benefit from solar energy without changing the existing benefits of parking lots. Not only is there energy production, but through intelligent solar design, a big slab of blacktop becomes a shaded place to park.
Room to Grow As You Grow
The nature of solar power means that you can add panels to an existing space as that space expands. Solar also means adding green energy to new building projects without the immense cost of creating infrastructure. Campuses can create small solar fields that supply energy to specific locations and create off-grid or grid-tied energy beacons within smaller campuses. The options for rooftop-mounted solar in combination with solar panel placement on other structures, such as parking structures, outbuildings, or even ground-mounted systems, allow for the creation of smaller energy production centers.
With smart technology, all small energy production centers have the option of being monitored centrally and controlled centrally. With best practices learned from installations on large-acre projects, such as agricultural solar energy systems, solar arrays can be designed to meet the diverse energy needs of a college campus. If you’d like to learn more about how solar energy can work for college campuses, contact us at Coldwell Solar.