The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education has released a new online database that tracks solar installations on college campuses. The database shows that solar power has grown by 450 percent over the last three years, to a total capacity of 137 megawatts, or enough to power 40,000 homes. Higher-education solar installations in 2010 represented a $300-million market and 5.4 percent of all solar power installed in the U.S. that year.
Niles Barnes, the projects coordinator for AASHE, said that the growth in solar could be attributed to the declining cost of installations, in part because of government incentives.
“For all the campuses that don’t have solar installations, we are trying to show them what’s possible,” Mr. Barnes says. “I think this is going to be inspiring to people.”
The database, which was made free to the public because of a solar company’s sponsorship, allows people to search for specific institutions or browse through the database by state, institution type, year installed, and other attributes. The database also ranks institutions in various top-10 lists. The campuses with the most installed solar capacity were, in this order, Arizona State University, University of Arizona, West Hills Community College District, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado State University, Arizona Western College, Butte College, Los Angeles Southwest College, William Paterson University of New Jersey, and Contra Costa College.
The database also listed the top-10 states where higher education institutions had installed solar power — which included a lot of states that don’t traditionally have great solar resources. They were, from first to tenth, California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Texas, Colorado, Ohio, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, and Wisconsin.