The Stanford Solar and Wind Energy Project (SWEP) student group was founded in the 2006-2007 academic year in order to promote, assess and develop the solar and wind energy resources on and around Stanford's campus. Since then, the group has grown to include graduate and undergraduate students from various programs and with a wide range of backgrounds. SWEP has engaged in numerous renewable energy resource assessments and projects both on and off campus.
SWEP initially aimed to assess the wind energy resource on campus. After realizing that this resource was rather poor, the group looked further out in the Bay Area to install two wind measuring towers that would determine if it is cost effective to install wind turbines. The group is currently in discussions with nearby municipalities to work collaboratively on this project. During the 2007-2008 school year, the group also decided to include solar energy within the scope of its projects. Group members assessed the campus solar energy resource, installed a solar hot water heater, measured the performance of various solar hot water heaters, and using information acquired from these projects, are currently assisting the University in a plan to install solar hot water heating systems in two campus dorms. It is also undertaking a feasibility study and has laid the groundwork to evaluate the potential for a large solar installation on campus. In 2008-2009, SWEP launched a speakers series that now brings about five renewable energy professionals to Stanford each quarter. Last academic year, the group has erected towers in Redwood City, CA and Salinas, CA to evaluate the potential for wind energy.
We have attempted to focus our projects within the scope of Stanford’s Energy and Climate Plan, which was released in the autumn of 2009. Working closely with the Office of Sustainability and Energy Management, as well as the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, we are advised by both practicing engineers, such as Scott Gould and Joe Stagner, as well as professors, such as CEE Professor Mark Jacobson. We are a diverse group, consisting of both undergraduates and graduates interested in all aspects of renewable energy from resource assessment, to design, to finance. SWEP continues to work towards providing Stanford with economic options to reduce their carbon footprint, while also providing students with work experience and professional contacts.