TU Delft installs 10,000 m2 solar panels on campus

In a giant step towards improving sustainability in its university buildings, this summer TU Delft is placing 10,000 m2 solar panels on rooftops all around campus – enough to generate one million kilowatt hours per year.

By 2020, all the universities in the Netherlands must improve their energy efficiency by 30%. This means that use of fossil fuels must be reduced through energy savings, more efficient fossil fuel conversion and the introduction of renewable forms of energy. While aiming to reduce its total energy use by 40%, TU Delft has set itself the specific target of generating 25% of the energy that it does need sustainably. So the university has begun installation of 10,000 m2 of solar panels on the roofs of 14 buildings all around the campus, giving TU Delft the largest solar panel surface area of any Dutch university. Moreover, when this phase is complete at the end of September TU Delft also plans to install solar panels on the roofs of student residence halls.

The construction and maintenance of this university solar energy plant also means that TU Delft can be used as a sustainable testing ground. "Thousands of researchers and students work on sustainable innovations at TU Delft on a daily basis", said Anja Stokkers, Director of Facility Management & Real Estate at TU Delft. "This makes the campus an excellent testing ground, providing an environment in which to conduct sustainability projects." This includes research by Professor Miro Zeman's team in the TU Delft Photovoltaic Materials and Devices group, which is working on increasing the yield of solar cells and photovoltaic systems.

Meanwhile, TU Delft has decided to make energy use on campus as open and transparent as possible by means of its website: www.energymonitor.tudelft.nl. On this site anyone can look up the current and historic energy consumption for each faculty on campus, making it easier to assess the impact of measures to improve energy efficiency. In fact, students and staff are even invited to make suggestions regarding energy efficiency on campus.