FSU and City of Tallahassee agree to 15-year solar energy pact

Solar Panels

Britney White Published 8:00 a.m. ET Jan. 6, 2022

Solar-produced electric energy is expected to account for 30 percent of FSU's consumption in the next year. That’s a five-fold leap from 2018 when solar accounted for about 6 percent. FSU will draw that power from one of the city's two solar farms. (Photo courtesy of the City of Tallahassee)

An updated agreement between Florida State University and the City of Tallahassee will double the amount of solar-generated electricity the university can draw from the city for the next 15 years. 

The move marks an extension and expansion of terms FSU agreed to in 2018 as part of its participation in the City of Tallahassee Solar Program and allows the university to tap solar power from two city-owned solar farms. It also fits squarely within the university’s strategic plan to make solar-generated electricity account for 20% of its overall consumption.

Preliminary projections from FSU Facilities anticipate that a total of 30% of campus energy consumption will come from solar as early as next year. That’s a five-fold leap from when the agreement was first signed in 2018 when solar accounted for about 6 percent. 

Kyle Clark, FSU vice president for Finance and Administration, said the agreement marks another step toward sustainability for the university.

“FSU is excited to expand its participation in the city’s optional solar program and affirm our commitment to campus sustainability,” he said. “The university is always looking for ways to be a better steward of natural resources and improve our carbon footprint.”

Elizabeth Swiman, director of Campus Sustainability, said the agreement promises to have multiple positive effects across campus.

“The fixed-rate cost outlined in the updated agreement allows for increased stability in long-term planning, hedging against the risk of future inflation and rising energy costs, particularly in the natural gas sector,” she said. “Expanding the amount of solar energy capacity available decreases the amount of natural gas needed to power campus resulting in impactful shifts in our green-house-gas profile and emissions footprint.”

The agreement secures the last of the city’s available solar capacity for the near future, and there are currently no other local options available.

“I’m enthusiastic about the increased solar capacity and our enhanced partnership with the City of Tallahassee,” said Dave Irvin, the associate vice president of Facility Services at FSU. “This reinforces to our communities and higher education peers that Florida State and FSU Sustainability and Facilities teams strive to be the best in the nation.”

View the full story at FSU News.