Clemson University and Duke Energy are partnering to bring more renewable energy to the campus, beginning with the development and installation of a solar panel-covered canopy over a campus parking lot near Memorial Stadium.
Harnessing power from the sun, the solar panels will generate one megawatt of electricity – about the equivalent of 33 percent of the power used by the stadium, according to Campus Utility Services Director Tony Putnam.
The planned solar canopy will cover spaces in the R-3 parking lot southwest of Memorial Stadium between Perimeter Road and Centennial Boulevard. It will provide shade over parked cars and could be designed with gutters between the panels to collect rainwater runoff.
Duke Energy Clean Energy Resources will lease space in the parking lot for the solar canopy and will install and maintain the solar system.
The solar canopy will bring a number of benefits to the campus. In addition to the electricity generated by the solar panels, the canopy will be equipped with LED lighting for security and electric vehicle charging spaces. Faculty and student researchers will be able to study the solar canopy’s productivity and lifecycle data and gameday visitors may be attracted to the shaded parking lot, which could have electric receptacles for convenience.
Presently, there are two campus buildings that get energy from rooftop solar panels: Fluor Daniel Hall and the Life Sciences Facility. Each 15-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system provides about 2 percent of the buildings’ electric needs, according to Putnam.
“The project is another step toward Clemson’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030,” said Brett Dalton, Clemson’s executive vice president for finance and operations. “We look forward to continuing to work with Duke Energy to convert more of Clemson’s power usage to renewable energy sources.”
“Duke Energy is implementing innovative technologies that provide clean energy solutions for our South Carolina customers,” said Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe, Duke Energy’s South Carolina president. “Solar is an important part of our state’s clean energy future, and we’re excited to partner with Clemson to meet their sustainability goals.”
The solar canopy in the R-3 parking lot is the first of several planned for parking areas around campus. The goal eventually is to generate as much as 15 percent of campus electricity from solar energy.