Rooftop Solar for Colleges - A tour of worldwide installations - India Renewable Energy Consulting – Solar, Biomass, Wind, Cleantech
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Colleges (and to a certain extent schools) are likely to be some of the earliest adopters of solar power from their premises. There are three reasons for this:

1. Most colleges are running during the same hours as the sun is up and running. Thus, the need for storage (batteries) is reduced to a significant extent.

2. Colleges do not run heavy machinery, so to that extent they do not have very heavy loads that could tax a solar system which can only supply to the extent of the land that the college can allot for solar

3. The educational component of solar power adds to the benefits as colleges can now use the solar power systems to provide a hands-on educational tool to the students.

And true to the above reasonings, quite a few colleges worldwide have already gone solar. In India, the Go Solar movement is just starting to catch up with colleges. I hence thought this would be a nice time to have a visual tour of the colleges worldwide that have gone solar, and provide brief details of their installations and anything unique they have done. This could become a handy guide to colleges in India keen on going solar.

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Here we go.


Yale University (Source)

The Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (YFES) is a world leader in the fields of environmental studies and science. The School’s home, Kroon Hall, was fit with a 105.6 kW solar panel installation. Apologies for the blurred picture, but you can still easily observe that solar panels over 100 kW have been fitted on a roof that is not of a regular shape



John Hopkins Univ, USA (Source)

This aerial view shows a fairly standard solar rooftop installation on a fairly straightforward flat roof. What is noteworthy is the capacity – 900 kW, almost 1 MW!



Austin Community College (Source)

The Austin Community College (ACC) designed and construct a 2.4 Kw solar array. This is a very small installation compared with many other installations of solar power in colleges worldwide. But what is noteworthy is the main objective for the installation. The attractive looking installation has been made in a highly visible location on the campus which aims to raise awareness of ACC’s ongoing mission to become a more sustainable district and highlight the viability of solar technology.  The solar arrays have also been planned to serve as a teaching tool for the rapidly developing solar technology programs at ACC.

Austin Community College USA


Solar Facade – Manchester College of Arts & Technology (Source)

All right, this is a very fancy project, done many years back (reckon as early as 2006, of course more such facade ideas are coming up). A pioneering building integrated solar PV model, a total of 482 80W polycrystalline modules are used in the cladding design. What’s really interesting is to see polycrystalline panels used for BIPV, I guess those were the good ole days. Today, BIPV is almost always with thin film solar.



Butte College, Northern California, USA (Source)

This is a pretty massive amount of rooftop solar for a college – 4.5 MW in all, with some 20,000+ panels in all. You can see the solar panels all around the place.



Rutgers University Livingston Campus, USA (Source)

In the summer of 2012, crews at Rutgers University’s Livingston Campus began transforming a 32-acre, 3,500-spot parking lot into one of the largest solar canopy arrays in the nation. Reportedly, the project is of a total capacity of an impressive 8 MW.

Rutgers Univ Livingston Campus Solar


Los Angeles Community College Solar Farm (Source)



Solar Kiosk at Queen’s College, NY, USA (Source)

Queens College in CUNY features a solar kiosk, an off-grid solar-powered recharging point that doubles as an outdoor study, seating or eating spot. The kiosk, or Solar Dok, has four solar panels totaling 235Watts and provides recharging for four 110V power outlets as well as two USB ports


Solar Farm at LA Mission College (Source)

…Features 1,128 solar panels



East LA (Calif) College, Solar Farm on Carport (Source)

1.2 MW carport solar structure provides shaded parking for 530 cars and improved lighting at night.

East LA College Solar on Carport

 Also: Check out an interesting site on solar: Suncyclopedia, the Solar Encyclopedia

About Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi)

Narsi, a Director at EAI, Co-founded one of India's first climate tech consulting firm in 2008.

Since then, he has assisted over 250 Indian and International firms, across many climate tech domain Solar, Bio-energy, Green hydrogen, E-Mobility, Green Chemicals.

Narsi works closely with senior and top management corporates and helps then devise strategy and go-to-market plans to benefit from the fast growing Indian Climate tech market.


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