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This university is turning its parking lots into a mind-blowing, schoolwide renovation: 'An exciting portfolio of projects'

The school is the biggest public university in its state.

This university is turning its parking lots into solar panels

Photo Credit: iStock

Rutgers University has a reputation for academic excellence, and now it's earning a name for going green.

The school, which is the largest public university in New Jersey, plans to install 16 solar carports in parking lots across five of its campuses by the end of 2023, reported Electrek.

The university previously installed a 32-acre solar parking lot canopy — the largest renewable energy system ever built on a college campus in the country — on its Livingston Campus in 2013. These panels produce 8.8 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power 60% of the campus.

The university made a power purchase agreement with DSD Renewables, a solar company based in New York, which will design, build, own, operate, and maintain the new canopies for a 15-year term, according to Electrek. 

Facilities Management Advisor further reported that this is the first major sustainability initiative to begin since Rutgers' 2021 announcement of its Climate Action Plan, in which it set a goal to achieve net zero by 2040. 

The transition to clean energy is vital to stopping the overheating of our planet, and solar energy is a central player. According to Electrek, Rutgers' panels will produce a total of 14.5 megawatts and are expected to generate 18 gigawatt-hours of electricity a year. 

One megawatt is enough to power nearly 1,000 homes, so these canopies will go a long way in powering the campuses and reducing emissions of planet-warming gases caused by dirty energy sources. 

Aside from providing clean energy that will allow the campuses to greatly reduce electricity costs, the solar panel canopies also provide shade, cover from weather, and reduce the urban heat island effect. 

"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," Kevin Brooks, senior director of Origination at DSD, told Electrek.

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