New Solar Panel Project Aims to Improve Campus and Community

Scientists at the University of Rochester have created a new solar power and energy storage initiative to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The State of New York has a new target to supply 50 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and eventually aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The University plans to add to this ambitious goal by promoting solar energy.

The University of Rochester was recently awarded a $1 million grant for a new solar panel project by The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). University of Rochester Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences and director of  the University’s Center for Energy and the Environment (CEE), Carmala Garzione, is leading the initiative, which involves installing an integrated solar energy storage system on the roof of the Goergen Athletic Center. The solar power generated by this system will offset energy for a new net-zero office building that is planned to be built onto the south side of Hutchison Hall. The project is planned to break ground in the Spring of 2019.

The energy generated by the solar panels on the roof of the Goergen Athletic Center will power that building, and will feed energy into the University’s collective energy system, making the planned new building nearly net zero. According to Professor Garcione, a net zero building has all of its energy supplied by renewable sources, like wind and solar. Solar panels are effective because their batteries store excess energy produced during times when the sun is out, and use this extra power during cloudy days.

The solar power initiative also includes plans for community outreach and engagement. There will be a center in the new building to educate people about the solar technology, and the Rochester Museum and Science Center will also have a display about the solar project to educate the community about the potential of renewable energy. This ambitious project is a step in the right direction for the University and for the State of New York.


Written by: Isabelle Leiberman, Class of 2021

Photo thanks to: Pixabay



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