- DSD Renewables won a bid to install 16 solar carports totaling 14.5 MW in Rutgers University parking lots across five campuses, according to a press release.
- The carport project, expected to generate 18 GWh of clean power annually, is viewed as a springboard for Rutgers’ goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040.
- This is the first major sustainability initiative since Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway announced the school’s commitment to a Climate Action Plan in September 2021.
DSD Renewables, which is set to design, build, own, operate and maintain the solar canopies across Rutgers’ campuses, will finance its installation projects through a 15-year power purchase agreement at no upfront cost to the university.
Rutgers Division of Institutional Planning and Operations will be the direct offtake counterparty for the clean power, which it will buy at a predetermined discounted rate, compared to that of the local utility.
“Because there are no transportation costs associated with delivering solar power to the university, the kilowatt-hour cost is greatly reduced,” Michael Kornitas, IP&O’s director of sustainability and energy, explained in the release.
The car canopy systems are slated for deployment in the following campuses:
|Rutgers Busch Livingston||8,809.6 Total kWDC|
|Rutgers Camden||393.3 Total kWDC|
|Rutgers College Avenue||769.5 Total kWDC|
|Rutgers Cook Douglass||3,625.92 Total kWDC|
|Rutgers Off-campis||906.3 Total kWDC|
Solar carports and canopies are expected to provide ease of cleaning and maintenance for facilities managers who oversee university parking lots.
The idea of solar coming to campus has existed for years. In late 2019, the Ventura County Community College District Board of Trustees approved a motion to construct and install a suite of solar carports on existing parking lots at its Ventura, Oxnard and Moorpark colleges in California.
Rutgers University’s executive vice president and COO Antonio Calcado indicated that DSD’s carport installation projects would align with the Rutgers Climate Task Force’s recommendations and objectives. Calcado added that these projects would fortify the university’s commitment to a climate action plan that will accelerate efforts to become carbon neutral by 2040 and work toward the U.S.’ goal of achieving national net-zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050.
Construction is already in full swing across campus parking lots, and the projects are slated to wrap in late 2023. The carports will create shaded parking lot coverage to help combat urban heat from surface parking lots and provide cover from snow, wind and rain during winters.
These projects also will “provide Rutgers students across five campuses with access to renewable energy and will ultimately bring the university closer to its sustainability goals while saving money on electricity,” Kevin Brooks, senior director of origination at DSD said in the release.
Separately, Rutgers is considering direct and grid emission solutions that include decarbonizing heating systems, installing metering, energy control systems, and electric vehicle fleet systems, retrofitting and energy-efficient buildings, decommissioning inefficient buildings and adopting new construction and energy standards.
The university ventured into solar parking lot canopy as far back as 2013 when it installed a 32-acre solar parking lot producing 8.8 MW of clean electricity.
Rutgers intends to fully divest from fossil fuel sources by 2031.