April 21, 2016

Emory Welcomes New Solar Installations

Solar power is on the rise at Emory with installations last summer of solar panels on the roofs of the 1762 Clifton Road and the North Decatur Road buildings. There are also solar panels at the WaterHub, four new small solar charging stations on campus, and plans to install solar panels on more buildings. These solar power projects help Emory achieve its sustainability vision, renewable energy generation goals, and the greenhouse gas reduction goals set forth in Emory’s Climate Action Plan.

The solar panels on the roofs of the 1762 Clifton Road building and the North Decatur Road building are part of the Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative (ASI), which allows entities like Emory to partner with a solar developer to install solar panels and then sell the energy produced back to Georgia Power. Emory retains the renewable energy credits equivalent to the energy produced via these solar panels, and uses them to offset carbon emissions for the campus. “The ASI program has allowed Emory to benefit from the carbon reduction attributable to the solar array energy production while remaining cost neutral for our purchased power. We look forward to continuing to participate in ASI as well as pursuing additional solar installation opportunities,” says Joan Kowal, Emory’s Senior Director of Energy Strategy and Utilities.

Solar panels on the 1762 Clifton and North Decatur Road buildings, along with the panels adjacent the WaterHub, which provide a portion of the energy needed to run the facility, together generate 265 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy. Approximately 1 kWh is required to power work on a computer for 5 to 10 hours, run a vacuum for an hour, or cook breakfast for a family of 4 people. The 265 kWh produced by the panels reduce carbon emitted into the atmosphere by preventing the burning of 196 pounds of fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas, which are the primary sources of energy production in our region.

Emory hopes to expand its solar power production with a new solar panel installation at the Health Sciences Research Building. This project would also be part of the Advanced Solar Initiative.

In addition to these large-scale solar panel installations, Emory is now home to four small solar powered charging stations: two at Cox Hall, one at Oxford College, and one at the Law School. These solar charging stations can charge up to three devices at a time with a USB plug-in. They can store enough energy to charge for multiple days without substantial sunlight and remain functional regardless of the weather.

Emory continues to seek ways to integrate solar power into existing buildings and facilities and into plans for new construction, and in this way hopes to contribute to a more sustainable energy grid.

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