Case Studies:
Delaware Technical Community College Phase 2

  • System Specs | 2,100 kW | 2,645 panels on multiple locations - ground-mount, roof-mount, and carport
  • System Production | 2,080 fewer tons of CO2 annually
  • Environmental Benefits | Offsets 12 percent of the annual total energy needs of four of the college’s campuses

Standing Up For Sustainability

Delaware Technical Community College is a leader and wanted to do its part to educate and train generations of students for growth careers and protect the planet. To achieve its impressive goals, they needed a partner who would stick with them over the plan’s anticipated duration.

Almost a decade ago, Delaware Tech committed to lead a new energy use and education revolution. They developed a Sustainable Energy Management Plan with aggressive goals of reducing both the college’s electricity use and carbon footprint by 20% each by 2020, contributing to the mission in a meaningful way. This leadership approach befit an institution that has educated at least one-fourth of Delaware’s population in one way or another.

After exploring myriad potential projects with which to launch the initiative, school officials selected building solar arrays throughout the campuses for energy use, education and visibility as a key component. The strategy, they believed, would allow the college to hit a decade-double: Solar arrays would allow the college to manage its electricity use more effectively while also reducing its carbon footprint at the same time and training Delawareans for new energy related careers.

The plan seemed simple, but as school officials delved further into the project, they discovered how complex solar installations can be. Finding the right partners to execute this long-term project was essential.

An Installation In Two Acts

Standard Solar’s experts and Delaware Tech implemented the 2.1 MW project in two phases. Phase One, a 2,645 panel solar-electric system, includes installations at four different campuses: a ground-mount system at Owens Campus, roof mounts at Stanton and Terry Campuses, and a roof mount and carport at the Wilmington Campus. All told, the 800 kW system is in-service generating about 1,075 MWh of electricity annually.

Phase Two includes a 449 kW carport and a 296 kW rooftop array on Terry Campus and two rooftop arrays totaling 585 kW on Owens Campus.

Thanks to its financing capabilities, Standard Solar was able to implement with Delaware Tech a long-term power-purchase agreement with Urban Grid, a specialist in the development and financing of mid- to large-sized commercial solar projects.

With the financing in place, Standard Solar began construction on Phase One.

Off To A Great Start

Under an aggressive construction schedule, Standard Solar’s engineering and project managers worked diligently to get the project done on time and on budget. As a result of their unrelenting commitment, Phase One was completed and commissioned in December 2013.

Each installation provides power to its own site with the exception of the Wilmington carport, which is aggregately net-metered—another area of expertise that Standard Solar brought to the project (and one few companies have)—and powers two other sites.

Finishing The Job

When the two phases are combined, the Delaware Tech solar-electric system is one of the largest in Delaware and is expected to generate more than 2,960,000 kWh per year and offset approximately 12 percent of the annual total energy needs of four of the college’s campuses. The Sustainable Energy Management Plan was achieved three years early and increased to 25%.

Ultimately, Everyone Wins

Not only do the installations offset Delaware Tech’s energy requirements and provide a hedge against volatile energy prices in the future, it advances the goal of meeting Delaware’s renewable energy portfolio standard.

The solar arrays are also a significant part of the campus’ overall energy and environmental awareness and support hands-on classroom learning. In addition, Delaware Tech’s focus on advancing energy management studies includes energy labs in all three counties and associate degrees in renewable energy, solar, energy management and building automation systems.

Delaware Technical Community College (Delaware Tech) committed in 2010 to a Sustainable Energy Management Plan with aggressive goals of reducing both the college’s electricity use and carbon footprint by 20% each by 2020. When it decided to incorporate solar as part of its way forward, it needed an experienced partner to help them do it right.

Delaware Tech organized a public RFP and selected Standard Solar for extensive experience in solar installations and support for educational institutions and network of financing capabilities.