Campus Microgrids Pushing New Generation of Development

Colleges and universities were some of the earliest adopters of microgrids in North America. Campus microgrids initially sprang up out of the need for reliable energy sources as the grid was still developing. Now, a variety of drivers are pushing a new round of microgrid development on college campuses.

campus microgrids

Colleges and universities were among the first to adopt microgrid technology in North America.

A white paper from Hitachi, “New Drivers for Campus Microgrids: Resiliency, Community, Research, Jobs & Cost Savings,” explores this new generation of development needs in detail. According to the report, now universities and colleges are installing microgrids “to address climate change, recruit green-leaning college applicants and position students for jobs in the growing clean energy economy.”

The history of campus microgrids goes way back. In fact, some of the oldest and biggest microgrids in the world are at universities in the U.S. For example, the University of Texas, Austin touts a microgrid system that provides 100 percent of the school’s power, heat and cooling for the entire campus.

“The list is long and getting longer of colleges and universities employing microgrid technology. Higher education is on the vanguard demonstrating the future of energy,” said Brian Levite, senior manager of energy solutions at Hitachi America.

As for the impetus for modern campus microgrid development, Timothy Carter of Second Nature, which works with colleges and universities to become more sustainable, boils it down to five main factors, which the recent report covers in detail:

  • Resiliency
  • Community
  • Research
  • Job Training
  • Student Recruitment

Microgrids are often offered under a no-money down model that lends itself toward colleges looking to cut costs.

microgrids on skids

Brian Levite, Hitachi Americas

Campus microgrids also equal cost savings. And with budgets stressed, most institutes of higher education are looking for ways to tighten the purse strings. Microgrids are often offered under a no-money down model that lends itself toward colleges looking to cut costs.

According to the report, “To determine if a microgrid will work for your institution – and save money on energy bills – it’s important to start by securing a reputable partner that can access your facility.”

And of course, finding a reliable third-party to make the initial investment for your no-money down microgrid is key. This arrangement will make way for a long-term partnership.

The new campus microgrid report from Hitachi covers in detail the following topics:

  • History of Campus Microgrids
  • New Impetus for Microgrids
  • Campus Microgrids for Cost Savings

For an in-depth look at the future of campus microgrids, download the full white paper, “New Drivers for Campus Microgrids: Resiliency, Community, Research, Jobs & Cost Savings,” courtesy of  Hitachi. 

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