Since March, there have been more than 50 hours where Cornell’s combined renewable energy systems, which includes campus rooftop solar, solar farms, and the campus hydroelectric plant, have produced more power than the campus consumed. Overall, more than 30% of the campus’ total power needs in March were offset with renewables.
“We were looking forward to achieving this milestone this summer,” said campus sustainability office director Sarah Zemanick. “We didn’t expect to reach 100% on a winter day.”
“Statewide, when we are making that much power it means a fossil-fuel-powered power plant must ramp down generation,” said Zemanick.
To date, the campus’ renewables have reached a peak generation of just over 28MW. The campus typically sees peak consumption between 25-35MW depending on the time of day and time of year.
“In the 1880’s Cornell was one of the first campuses to use electricity to light its grounds from a water-powered dynamo,” said Bert Bland, associate vice president for energy and sustainability.
“It’s a thrill to be part of the team that’s bringing Cornell back to its renewable roots, just in time for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.”
On sunny days, Cornell’s on- and off-site renewable generation will regularly exceed its campus power needs from now on.
To learn more about Cornell's energy production, and see real-time campus data, visit the interactive energy dashboard.
To participate in 2020 Sustainability Month events and the 50th celebration of Earth Day, check out these resources: