AASHE Releases New Campus Solar Installations Database


Contact: AASHE Executive Director Paul Rowland 

Phone: 720.346.1432
 E-mail: paul.rowland@aashe.org

U.S. Higher Education Solar Capacity Leaps 450% in 3 Years
AASHE identifies growth and top trends with new database of campus solar installations

Oct. 6, 2011; Denver, CO— A new database of hundreds of campus solar photovoltaic installations created by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has revealed that installed solar capacity has grown 450 percent over the last three years in the higher education sector.

By capturing campus solar installations in one database, AASHE has revealed important solar trends in the higher education sector. A 40 percent drop in the installed cost of solar over the last four years and new financing mechanisms have led institutions to invest in solar as a way to hedge against rising electricity prices while reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

The AASHE Campus Solar Photovoltaic Installations database has revealed that:

• The 137 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity installed on higher education campuses to date is equivalent to the power used by 40,000 U.S. homes.
• The market in 2010 for on-campus solar installations was over $300 million in the U.S.
• Higher education solar installations in 2010 made up 5.4 percent of the total 956 MW installed that year in the U.S.
• Since 2009, the median project size has grown six fold.
• Only five states installed more solar in 2010 than the 52 MW installed on U.S. campuses in 2010.

Charts and additional analysis are available here: U.S. Higher Education Solar Capacity Leaps 450 percent in 3 Years

With the goal of driving further solar development on campuses, AASHE’s new database is designed for higher education solar advocates to browse success stories at campuses of a similar type, size and location. Users of the database can find examples like the University of San Diego, which took advantage of federal and state incentives through a Solar Power Purchase Agreement to install 5,000 panels on 11 campus buildings, providing up to 15 percent of the campus’ electricity at below market rates and with little upfront cost.

AASHE has recruited the sponsorship of AMSOLAR as part of its strategy to help campus solar advocates find success in the projects they initiate. “We are very pleased to have AASHE member and supporter AMSOLAR sponsor the PV database. As part of their sponsorship, AMSOLAR has agreed to serve as a technical resource, fielding questions from the campus sustainability community,” says Paul Rowland, executive director of AASHE. “We think that is critical, because nobody knows the ins and outs of designing, installing and financing solar projects like professionals in the industry."

“We are incredibly excited to be partnering with AASHE to make this innovative solar database available to the general public. The data show that solar is fast becoming a cost-competitive way for institutions to meet long-term electricity needs. If an institution is planning for the next 50 years, solar allows them to stabilize utility costs while providing an invaluable tool to educate their students about the benefits of renewable energy,” says Jared Quient, vice president of project development for AMSOLAR.

AASHE, a member organization of colleges and universities, is helping to create a brighter future of opportunity for all by advancing sustainability in higher education. By creating a diverse community engaged in sharing ideas and promising practices, AASHE provides administrators, faculty, staff and students, as well as the business that serve them, with: thought leadership and essential knowledge resources; outstanding opportunities for professional development; and a unique framework for demonstrating the value and competitive edge created by sustainability initiatives. Please visit us at www.aashe.org.

AMSOLAR is a San Diego-based developer of solar projects for educational institutions nationwide. We manage all of the financing, engineering, installation, operation and maintenance of the solar facility, while our partners enjoy the benefits of reliable and affordable solar power. AMSOLAR GIVING, our corporate giving and community service program, will ensure the project engages your entire community about the benefits of sustainability and renewable energy.