Skip to main content

Renewable Energy

NREL's goal is to maximize the use of on-site renewable energy and to purchase the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to offset the remaining greenhouse gas emissions necessary to achieve laboratory carbon neutrality.

In FY 2009, NREL's renewable energy use was 100% of annual electric consumption achieved primarily through the utilization of on-site renewable energy projects and the purchase of RECs. One hundred percent of the renewable energy consumed was from "new" renewable resources.

On-site Renewable Energy Projects

Existing and planned on-site renewable energy projects include:

  • The Mesa Top Photovoltaic PV Project is a 750 kW photovoltaic (PV) system, which displaces approximately 7% of the laboratory's electrical use.

  • Grid-connected PV panels which generate about 53,000 kWh of electricity each year. These panels are at the Solar Energy Research Facility, the Site Entrance Building, the Outdoor Test Facility, the National Wind Technology Center, and the Distributed Energy Research Test Facility. Most recently in early FY 2010, a 1.16 MW ground mount system came online at the National Wind Technology Center and on the South Table Mountain campus. There are also remote applications including signs, and walkway and parking lighting.

  • A new Renewable Fuel Heating Plant (RFHP), a wood-fired combustion boiler that utilizes forest thinnings and wood fuel that could displace nearly 75% of NREL's South Table Mountain natural gas use. During the 2008-09 heating season, it had a 4,800 million BTU output.

  • Turbines at the National Wind Technology Center have approximately 5,290 kW of installed capacity.

  • Solar thermal energy sources include solar hot water systems, ventilation air preheating systems, and Trombe walls. These combined projects represent an annual thermal output of nearly 10.2 billion Btu. There is also extensive use of passive solar and daylighting.

  • PV Projects. Two photovoltaic projects using an innovative private sector financing arrangement are included in the mix:

    • A 118 kW Science and Technology Facility roof mount system is operating
    • A 382 kW ground mount system near the Field Test Laboratory Building is planned

Learn more about NREL's Campus of the Future.