With the onset of climate change people are demanding better business behavior. As a result, many companies seek to diversify their public presence by acquiring technologies and behaviors that ultimately strive toward a goal of reducing environmental impacts. One particular focus of this transition has been the acquisition of clean energy technology. Solar photovoltaic arrays are one such technology that companies and homeowners continue to adopt to meet their environmental goals whether those goals are specific, measureable, impactful or whether they are more for self satisfaction and peace of mind. Administration and the Office for Sustainability at University of Richmond has set aggressive goals, promising reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent from 2009 levels by 2020 and to be carbon neutral by 2050.
To help meet these goals, the University has entered into agreement with a solar energy provider name SPower. They have proposed the construction of 500 MW of solar capacity In Spotsylvania county, making agreement with other companies like Microsoft and Apple who seek to offset the carbon footprint of their data centers. An array of this size has stirred up much controversy over environmental health, land rights, and resource use. Many have sought to weigh the costs and benefits of such an operation. One way to analyze a project of this size is to compare it to alternative solar strategies, namely residential rooftop arrays.
Paper prepared for the Environmental Studies Senior Seminar
Faculty Advisor: Dr. David Kitchen
Woods, Grant. "Maintaining Productive Efficiency of Solar Arrays." Paper for Environmental Studies Senior Seminar, University of Richmond, April 2019.