Solar Collector Field
The system, comprising 16,500 photovoltaic panels, is expected to be one of the largest single installations at a U.S. college or university. The project site is located on land adjacent to Princeton's main campus between the New Jersey Transit "Dinky" spur line, the Delaware & Raritan Canal, Washington Road (Mercer County Road 571) and Route 1. A row of trees along Washington Road will block most of the site from view. New landscaping also will be installed to screen the site from the road, the lake and the canal towpath.
The solar power system will be mounted on 4- to 5-foot poles facing south. About 80 percent of the system will be composed of SunPower T0 Trackers, which use a global positioning system to track the sun each day to maximize energy capture. The remainder of the system will use solar technology that fixes the panels at a tilt of 25 degrees. This combination was selected to maximize the amount of power generated and to best fit the irregular layout of Princeton's land.
The collector field will be connected to the Princeton main campus electric power distribution system and is expected to meet about 5.5% of Princeton's annual electrical needs. During the first 8 years of the collector's operation, Princeton will lease the installation from a company that will sell its environmental benefits through New Jersey's Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) program. When that arrangement ends, Princeton will have the option to stop selling SREC's and claim the environmental benefits -- that could realize up to 6 percent of the carbon emissions reduction goal set by the University's Sustainability Plan . (That plan calls for the University to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.) The solar power system is designed to last 30 years or more.
Completed in 2012
Current Campus Energy Production and Use
This real-time data is drawn from the same system that is used by the plant operators to monitor energy usage and production on campus. The campus solar collector project has become operational and we hope to incorporate data from that system here. Until then, some of its energy production data can be seen at the SunPower website dedicated to our system.
- Total TONS chilled water (being delivered to campus) 2096.7 TONS/HR
- Total POUNDS/HR steam (being delivered to campus) 65029.4 LBS/HR
- Total MEGAWATTS Power (being delivered to campus: Elm + Charlton) 12.5226 MW
- Total MEGAWATTS PSEG power (being imported: Elm + Charlton) 10.106 MW
- Total MEGAWATTS cogen power output 0 MW
- Total CFM Natural gas being burned (Transportation + CIG) 1304 CFM
- Total GPM Diesel fuel being burned 0 GPM
Progress as of October 11, 2012. (Not a live view.) Please see the photo gallery (under construction) for past progress frames. As of this photo, all panels are in place, and the collector field is generating power for Princeton University while undergoing performance testing.
Renderings and construction photos are located in the photo gallery. Please note that renderings and artists' conceptions are presented here for historical purposes only. The final designs of these projects may have evolved since these renderings were created.
|Design and Construction||SunPower Corporation|
|Lessor||Key Equipment Finance|
Energy Plant Contacts
- Campus Plan
- Department of Engineering and Campus Energy
- Press Release
- Princeton Solar Collector Data from SunPower Corp.
- Princeton University Facilities
- Student Environmental Communication Network (SECN) Video About the Princeton Solar Collector
- Sustainability Highlights 2012
- Sustainability Update 2011
- Sustainability at Princeton