On April 16, Stanford entered into an agreement with SunPower to build an off-site solar photovoltaic (PV) plant generating 73 MW of electricity—enough to power approximately 20,000 homes—that will supply 50% of Stanford’s electricity for at least the next 25 years. The PV plant will be built in Southern California and is anticipated to start generating electricity in late 2016. It will use SunPower’s state-of-the-art PV technology, which features single-axis tracking.

Around the same time, Stanford finalized a contract with SunPower to install an additional 5.5 MW of solar PV at 18 buildings and one parking structure on campus. Initially, over 60 campus sites were audited and analyzed for their suitability for PV systems. Sites were selected based on aesthetic and historical impact along with orientation, roof size and slope, and construction. Stanford plans to have the panels fully installed and generating power in late 2016. When complete, on-site solar PV will provide 3% of Stanford’s energy supply.

The remaining 47% of Stanford’s electricity will continue to come from California’s power grid and is currently 25% renewable, as required by the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The percentage that is renewable will only increase over time as California’s grid meets its 33% RPS in 2020.