Written by Office of Sustainability Student Associate, Serena Earp, Class of 2024
In mid-September of this year, WashU completed the installation of solar arrays on four buildings on the East End of the Danforth Campus—another step in the right direction for WashU’s sustainability goal of decreasing reliance on fossil fuels. The panels were energized on September 16, and they will continue to produce clean energy for many years to come.
These WashU-owned solar arrays were installed in partnership with Azimuth Energy and Aschinger Electric, and the installation follows the recently completed East End Transformation. The East End Solar project reflects WashU’s continuing role in solar investment and growth in the St. Louis region. This solar project in particular involved four buildings: Schnuck Pavilion, Sumers Welcome Center, Weil Hall, and McKelvey Hall.
The solar arrays on Sumers Welcome Center and the Schnuck Pavilion, which houses the Environmental Studies Program and the Office of Sustainability, are visible from the upper floors of adjacent buildings and were designed with all-black panels for a clean and cohesive design.
The combined energy capacity from the new East End solar arrays totals around 222 kilowatts, raising the total solar generating capacity of WashU’s solar arrays from 2.48 megawatts to 2.71 megawatts. The new arrays provide an 8.6% increase in WashU’s annual on-site solar energy production. The amount of CO2 emissions saved by this new clean energy generation is equivalent to:
- 1 year of total energy use for 23 homes (includes energy needed for heating that is often provided by natural gas)
- 1 year of electricity use for 36 homes
- 21,717 gallons of gasoline consumed
- 213,320 pounds of coal burned
The East End solar projects are just another step in WashU’s multi-faceted commitment to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate impacts.
- Solar Expansion Continues at Washington University, April 2019
- The Grow Solar Program Returns, March 2021