Solar and Wind Energy Project

The Stanford Solar and Wind Energy Project (or SWEP) student group, aims to promote, assess, and develop the solar and wind energy resources on and around Stanford’s campus. SWEP was started during the 2006-2007 academic year by several graduate students in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Atmosphere/Energy Program at Stanford University. Since then, the group has grown to over 50 active student members, comprised of graduate and undergraduate students from various programs and with a wide range of backgrounds. We welcome anyone to participate in our group and seek to collaborate with other student groups, faculty, university programs, and community members.
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. In 2008-2009, SWEP launched a speakers series that now brings about five renewable energy professionals to Stanford each quarter. This academic year, the group has erected towers in Redwood City, CA and Salinas, CA to evaluate the potential for wind energy. It is also undertaking a feasibility study and has laid the groundwork to evaluate the potential for a large solar installation on campus. SWEP was recently awarded the prestigious Environmental Protection Agency P3 grant for people, prosperity, and planet. The first time $10,000 grant comes with the opportunity to compete for $75,000 second round funding next year. Details about the grant can be found here: More information about projects can be found under the projects tab.
The Main Objectives of SWEP are:

  • To assess the wind and solar resources at and near Stanford
  • To promote the use of wind and solar energy on and near the Stanford campus as sustainable energy resources
  • To install wind and solar generating capacity at and near Stanford
  • To explore methods for measuring and calculating wind speeds aloft, at altitudes where a commercial size turbine might operate