University of Cambridge installs 1,500 solar panels at new district

Almost 1,500 solar panels have been installed at the University of Cambridge's new 150-hectare district, with the array expected to slash energy usage by more than 298MWh a year.

The 373kW array has been fitted on 12 units at the North West Cambridge Development, which is set to provide 1,500 affordable homes for university and college staff, and 100,000 sqm of academic and research space.

Renewable energy firm G&H Sustainability was asked to design and install the array to help the University move along the path in its aim to cut carbon emissions by 34% by 2020.

G&H sustainability director Andrew Hudson explained: “The University took the opportunity to affect the built environment and encourage sustainability throughout as it seeks a BREEAM Excellent rating.

“Solar PV plays a key part in this and any long-term energy reduction strategy.”

University challenge

In 2015, a deal was signed with Cambridge Water to support the UK’s largest water recycling system at the University’s North West Cambridge Development site.

Last year, English universities achieved their best year-on-year reduction in carbon emissions to date, although an annual 7% reduction is unlikely to put the sector on track to meet a 2020 carbon reduction target.

The top performing institution was London Metropolitan University, which has achieved a carbon emissions reduction of 57% since 2005.

It was announced last week that Siemens had been appointed to transform Keele University campus into the largest integrated, living laboratory for smart energy, gas and heating technologies.

George Ogleby

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