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Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy

American University uses 100 percent renewable energy for electricity. AU mitigates all carbon emissions attributed to campus electricity consumption through a combination of on-site solar, off-site solar, and renewable energy credits.  

On-Site Renewables

AU uses both solar power purchase agreements (PPA) and directly owned solar photovoltaics (PV) and solar thermal for on campus renewable energy. Solar PV converts the sun’s energy directly into electricity, while solar thermal uses heat from the sun to heat domestic hot water in buildings. Ten campus buildings feature roof top solar panels.
Buildings with rooftop solar:

  • Mary Graydon Center (solar PV and thermal)
  • Bender Library (solar PV)
  • Katzen (solar PV)
  • Washington College of Law (solar PV)
  • 4200 Wisconsin (solar PV)
  • 3201 New Mexico (solar PV)
  • Letts Hall (solar thermal)
  • Anderson/Centennial (solar thermal)

Off-Site Renewables

As of 2016, AU sourced 50 percent of its campus electricity consumption from the Capital Partners Solar Project in North Carolina. The project, a collaboration between American University, George Washington University, and George Washington University Hospital, is the largest PV development east of the Mississippi. The 123 million kilowatt hours (kWh) generated by the solar panels is enough to power 8,200 homes annually and will eliminate 60,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.  

"Solar Project Brings Energy to Three D.C. Institutions"

Renewable Energy Credits

AU began purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs) to compliment 100 percent of campus electricity usage in 2011. By purchasing RECs, AU provides demand for renewable energy and ensures that clean, zero-emissions electricity is generated to offset university electricity consumption. AU ensures that its RECs have real environmental benefits by purchasing only Green-e-certified RECs. Green-e is a stringent, independent standard and process for verifying the credibility of renewable energy certificates. 

Real Time Data

See how much electricity the solar panels on SIS produce in real time by visiting the dashboard for the array.