Princeton University will be adding eight new solar projects on campus, including four projects over parking on Princeton's main campus, two projects on University properties located on the Lake Campus in West Windsor adjacent to Route 1, and two projects at the Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro. Like the existing solar array in West Windsor, the new arrays near Route 1 will be landscaped to minimize their visual impact. 27% of the new solar photovoltaic capacity will use zero additional land area.
The solar arrays will be connected to the Princeton microgrid and will more than double the University's current solar PV generating capacity from about 5.5% to 19% of current electric energy use. The new, two-sided panels can approach 25% efficiency, compared to those installed in 2012, that were 20% efficient. As Princeton builds out its microgrid and expands the use of geo-exchange technology on Campus, the electric heat pumps in the new TIGER facility will be partially or fully powered from renewable resources. Some of that electricity will come from the University's solar arrays. The project supports the University's shift toward more sustainable energy production and is a critical component in realizing Princeton's ambitious net carbon neutrality goal by 2046.
These arrays are being built under a power purchase agreement. EDF Renewables will design, build, own, operate, and maintain the arrays for 15 years. After that, the University will have the option to purchase the facilities at fair market value. The expectation is that the facilities will continue to function for another 10 – 15 years after the initial 15-year period.