Stanford University inaugurated one of the grandest sustainable energy solutions to date with the ribbon-cutting of the 200 acre, 155,000-panel array solar park in Kern County, California.
The Stanford Energy Systems Innovations (SESI) is an ambitious energy solution featuring 19.9 million solar cells. SESI, a project partnered with SunPower, has a capacity of 67 Megawatts. The plantation is expected to cut back Stanford’s greenhouse gas emissions by 68 percent, and reduce the community’s fossil fuel use by 65 percent.
The project features a novel heat recovery system where 35 kilometers (22 miles) of piping through 155 buildings was optimized to reuse waste heat for its operations.
The solar park will provide 53 percent of the campus’ total electricity demand. Electricity from SESI turned out to be about 20 percent cheaper than Stanford’s original price estimate.
“I hope all of the students that pass through Stanford have a chance to understand, not only that they’re learning in a very sustainable environment, but to learn about sustainability and energy and what they can do in their own lives to help people move toward this in the interest of everybody in the future,” said Joseph Stagner, executive director of Sustainability and Energy Management at Stanford.
Stanford is among the many institutes committing to better energy solutions. Advancements in technology, coupled with architecture, have given rise to “energy positive” solar buildings. Vast and high-efficiency solar power plants can be found in several countries, many of them located in Europe. Iceland fronts the list of countries that have sworn off fossil fuel use.
Many experts are continually studying solar cells to increase the efficiency of this sustainable power source, and discoveries are just waiting to be made. With solar power, the future looks bright.