Renewable Energy

Under the Pitt Sustainability Plan, the University is committed to producing or procuring 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Under the Pitt Sustainability Plan, the University is committed to producing or procuring 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

The University’s strategies in achieving this goal are summarized below.  All of these efforts will help Pitt continue to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions below our 2008 baseline.  We have already gotten to 22.2% below our baseline — a trend that keeps the University on its trajectory to halve its GHG emissions by 2030.  Purchased electricity is the biggest contributor to the University’s greenhouse gas emissions, and thus remains a key target for conservation, efficiency, and ongoing source shifts to cleaner options.:

  • On-site Renewables:
    • 4.32 kW photovoltaic installation on the roof of Benedum Hall – Installed in 2012, this array is for research purposes, including 18 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels at different tilts (25 degrees and 45 degrees) and positioned in 3 directions (East, South, and West).
    • Check out data on the real-time generation of electricity from this array.
  • Directly Purchased Renewables – Starting in 2019, the University is committed to purchasing 100% renewables for a small electricity portfolio that represents 3.15% of the University’s annual electricity usage.
  • Long-term Power Purchase Agreement for Hydropower – Pitt is committed to acquiring 25% of its electrical needs from local, run-of-the-river hydropower, starting in 2023 — the equivalent of 50,000 MWh annually.
    • Pitt’s investment in hydropower may be its largest-ever commitment to renewable energy, but electricity generation accounts for about half of the University’s GHG emissions, this commitment an important part of Pitt’s continuing progress.
  • Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs):
    • Starting in 2009, Pitt has regularly purchased small amounts of RECs specific to LEED building certifications.
    • For FY19, the University purchased 32,000 RECs (or 32,000 MWh), equating to ~15% of Pitt’s annual electricity consumption.
    • What is a REC?