Analysis of Installed Solar Systems at ERC’s Headquarters Shows Potential of Large-Scale Solar Energy

Achievement date: 
2013
Outcome/accomplishment: 

The NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technologies (QESST) is headquartered at Arizona State University (ASU). QESST analysis of installed photovoltaic (PV) devices on parking structures and roofs at ASU’s Tempe campus demonstrated the large potential of PV as an electric energy source.

Impact/benefits: 

With ASU-Tempe reaching 50% of its electricity use from PV sources, continuing analysis of large-scale PV systems shows the potential of solar energy for urban areas in southwestern climates.

Explanation/Background: 

ASU is committed to installing solar and green technologies on its campus. QESST is focused on solving barriers to PV implementation and addressing a range of related issues, including development of new technologies, issues arising from or related to larger-scale systems, and sustainability issues. As part of this effort, QESST students monitor and analyze data from ASU's installed systems. This analysis showed that ASU recently passed a significant milestone. In the beginning of 2013, during periods of peak sunshine, up to half the total electricity demand from ASU-Tempe buildings was supplied by electricity generated by PV systems installed across the Tempe campus. (The accompanying figure shows that, on February 24, 2013 at 12pm, the PV-generated electricity from ASU-Tempe was able to meet 50% of the entire campus' electricity demand.) This scenario demonstrates the potential positive impact of large-scale PV-generated electricity on reducing dependence on conventional electricity generating systems that utilize fossil fuels.