DSD Renewables has been selected by Rutgers University to install 16 solar carport canopies, totaling 14.5 MW, in parking lots across the university’s multiple campuses in New Jersey.
This is the first sustainability initiative to roll out since University President Jonathan Holloway announced the university’s commitment to a Climate Action Plan in September 2021. The project, expected to generate 18 GWh of clean electricity annually, will push Rutgers towards its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2040, and will add to the school’s existing solar canopies that currently cover 33 acres of the Livingston Campus.
“Beyond the obvious environmental and societal benefits aligning with the recommendations and objectives of the Rutgers Climate Task Force and the work they are doing, just as important, is that lowering our utilities’ costs will have a positive downstream effect benefiting our students and their families with respect to the cost of attending Rutgers,” said Antonio Calcado, executive VP and Chief Operating Officer of Rutgers University.
At no upfront cost to the university, the projects are being financed through a power purchase agreement (PPA), in which DSD will design, build, own, operate and maintain the solar canopies across campuses for a 15-year term. Over that time, the generated power will be purchased by Rutgers Division of Institutional Planning and Operations (IP&O) at a discounted rate compared to the local utility.
“It’s an unconventional project in that we are not spending university funds, but accruing significant benefits,” said Frank Wong, IP&O’s assistant VP of university planning and development. “The project will significantly reduce our energy costs over time and be a visible sign of our ongoing sustainability efforts.”
Construction is currently underway across several of the university’s campus parking lots, and the projects are expected to be complete in late 2023. Once complete, the carports will create shaded parking lot coverage, reducing urban heat island effects of surface parking lots and providing cover from precipitation, while providing clean energy to university buildings and operations.
“Having the opportunity to work with such a well-known and highly regarded university, such as Rutgers, is an honor,” said Kevin Brooks, senior director of origination at DSD. “This is an exciting portfolio of projects that 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.”
DSD was awarded the project through a competitive bidding process, and was chosen for its experience in developing large-scale solar solutions for MUSH market customers.
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