Apr 20, 2015

[Top 10] Which Campuses Take the Cake on Solar Energy?

Top 10
Kevin Smead
3 min
10. University of Arizona (4,428 kW)
The University of Arizona in Tuscon has a number of major sustainability efforts underway...

10. University of Arizona (4,428 kW)
The University of Arizona in Tuscon has a number of major sustainability efforts underway on its campus. Starting with the Arizona Research Institute for Solar Energy (AzRISE) in 2007, the university has implemented other initiatives and a $15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to set up Energy Frontier Centers (EFRC) which will bring together experts from the university, private sector, and national labs to develop better solar tech.

9. Butte College (4,616 kW)
Oroville, California’s Butte College has more than 25,000 solar panels and was the first college in the country to go “grid positive,” meaning it generates more electricity than it uses. The college started its solar endeavor in 2005 and is estimated to save up to $100 million over the course of 30 years.

8. Arizona Western College (5,105 kW)
Arizona Western’s solar installation is mainly for educational purposes, though the energy generated is certainly helpful. It’s used to help experiment with new solar tech and also covers 100% of the college’s energy needs. The college has a program for solar installers as well, the first class of which graduated in 2011.

7. California State University, Fullerton (5,400 kW)           
CSU Fullerton is working to go off the grid completely, and it’s two-thirds of the way there. With its 2012 solar installations, the university is offsetting more than 26.422 tons of greenhouse gas each year, which is equivalent to taking almost 5,181 cars off the road in the next 25 years.

6. Colorado State University (5,559 kW)
While its installations are relatively recent, Colorado State has had a nationally recognized PV program since the 1960s. It now houses the Center for Revolutionary Solar Photoconversion, a Materials Engineering Lab focused on PV tech, and other initiatives that are looking to take the solar panel of today into the future.

5. United States Air Force Academy (6,000 kW)
The U.S. Air Force Academy’s 6 MW solar installation was completed in 2011 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The project was completed by Sunpower and has a power purchasing agreement with Colorado Springs Utilities to provide power for 25 years.

4. West Hills Community College District (6,000 kW)
The 6 MW installation covers several of West Hills’ California campuses and is over 200 acres large. The power will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric, though the campuses are using the farm as an educational tool in addition to a source of power. The district hopes to eliminate its energy bill to free up funds for other campus-related items.

3. Mount St. Mary’s University (17,400 kW)
Mount St. Mary’s solar farm is a project of Constellation Energy of Baltimore and is built on 100 acres of the college in Emmitsburg. The college purchases 1.2 MW of power from the farm. Once the installations PPA is up, the farm will likely be sold to the college.

2. Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey (17, 417 kW)
The solar systems at Rutgers have kept getting bigger. The university was once the leader in installed solar with a 32-acre solar canopy hanging over two parking lots on campus. The $40 million system will reduce the university’s dependence on energy.

1. Arizona State University (23,567 kW)
It’s been incremental, but ASU is the nation’s top higher-education institution with solar installed by quite a bit. It’s portfolio of solar installations is huge: It has 86 installations on four campuses and the ASU research park. The campus has numerous buildings that are LEED Silver certified, with more on the way. And as the university states, installing solar is “the right thing to do.”


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Mar 20, 2020

Top 10 ways to prepare for COVID-19

Georgia Wilson
3 min
Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s Top 10 ways organisations can prepare for a pandemic, via effective operational risk management
Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s To...

Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s Top 10 ways organisations can prepare for a pandemic, via effective operational risk management. 

As the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to develop, many businesses are left uncertain as to whether their risk mitigation plan is sufficient. 

In a recent webinar conducted by the research and advisory firm just 12% of 1,500 people believe that their business is highly prepared for the impact of COVID-19, while 56% believed themselves to be somewhat prepared, and 11% believed themselves to be very unprepared. 

“Most organizations have done some pandemic planning but still have many unanswered questions about whether they have done everything they can to manage risks,” says Jim Mello, Senior Director, Advisory, Gartner. 

Establish a preparedness framework

Establish a team that represents all critical business functions. These people will report directly to executive management and are responsible for prioritising the importance of business activities and organise them in tiers for response and recovery.

Monitor the situation

It is important to ensure that organisations monitor the rate in which the infection is spreading and its severity. Many rely on the World Health Organisation for information.

Revise finance

Be sure to revise revenue forecasts and communicate with investors, as well as suppliers in regards to any potential finance issues. It is important to ensure that the business has the working capital to ride it out. 

Ways to ensure this include: working capital checks, seeking loans or government-sponsored financial relief.

Extend personal hygiene and cleaning protocols

It is important to comply with any changes to workplace regulations. In addition, it is important to establish protocols for staff returning from infected areas, as well as extending existing hygiene activities.

Review HR 

Ensure close monitoring of absenteeism rates for signs of problems. It is important to identify critical staff in order to make sure the company can continue to function in their absence and be prepared for up to 40% absentee rates.

In addition to reviewing HR policies and procedures, it is important to maintain a level of sensitivity when it comes to engaging with employees and workplace preferences. 


Establish a communication programme

People can feel out of the loop quickly. Establish a spokesperson appropriate for the situation who can maintain lines of communication. In addition, organisations should establish pre-approved messages and scripts for various stakeholders.

Review the impact on the operation

Although this may seem overwhelming, the team established to represent all critical business functions should identify key areas to consider. It is important to maintain a connection with the reality on the ground in countries affected.

Key questions to consider: is transport functioning? Have holidays been extended? Where can operation continue and where do they need to stop?

Review IT 

IT business functions tend to be relatively well-prepared for business continuity. However, it is important to assess the supply chain for critical equipment and keep extra inventory if required.

In addition, organisations should keep in mind remote data centre management and cloud options for critical systems as well as enabling remote working programs and rescheduling any non-essential IT work prioritising key applications. 

Review pandemic plans to identify any gaps in response

Conduct a preparedness exercise by validating roles and responsibilities as well as recovery requirements and procedures, in order to identify any gaps in the recover capabilities and resource needs.

Review after-action

Following the establishment of a pandemic plan, identify three lessons learned, key observations or improvements for the exercise. After establishing these organisations should priorities the short and long term follow up actions.

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