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Renewable Energy

Wind Turbine 1

Carleton installed its first, 1.65-MW wind turbine in 2004 - and was the first higher-ed institution in the country to do so! The electricity that it produces is sold back to our energy provider Xcel Energy, rather than connecting it directly to our campus grid, but this indirect energy production is equivalent to approximately one-third of Carleton's total energy usage.

Wind Turbine 2

Carleton built its second wind turbine in 2011, thanks to a generous grant in 2008 from environmentally-minded alumni Richard and Laurie Kracum (both '76) that the Star Tribune nicknamed a "400-foot-tall anniversary gift." After a three-year process of gaining approval from the Northfield City Council, searching for a location that was compatible with zoning regulations, and finding a company to build the turbine itself, the turbine was fully assembled in September 2011, and unveiled to the public on October 21, 2011.  The turbine is expected to produce 4,000 - 5,000 MWh of electricity per year, serving more than 25% of the campus electric load. 

Want to see how a turbine is built, and learn more about Carleton's renewable energy initiatives? Scroll down to the bottom of the page for a time-lapse video of the construction of the second turbine, or check out the video about our wind turbine (made by Amber Kim '14) submitted to Second Nature's Climate Leadership Awards.

Solar PV Rooftop Array

A 10.6 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) panel array was installed on the Cassat-James roof as part of this residence hall construction project in 2009.  Electricity production averages 10 MWh per year.  See the Cassat-James Greentouch screen link for further information. 

Solar Thermal Rooftop Array

A solar thermal panel array was installed on the Cassat-James roof as part of this residence hall construction project in 2009.   The array provides solar-heated water to the buildings' primary domestic hot water tank which is supplemented by a traditional steam-heated water tank.  See the Cassat-James Greentouch screen link for further information.


  • Carleton's Second Wind Turbine
    Created 19 October 2011; Published 19 October 2011
    Carleton's Second Wind Turbine Installation

    Video of the installation of Carleton's second wind turbine. Carleton will dedicate the wind turbine, made possible by a generous gift from Laurie Weiss Kracum ’76 and Richard Kracum ’76 of Chicago, on Friday, Oct. 21. The new wind turbine will provide power directly to Carleton’s electrical grid, serving one-third the annual power needs of nearly 2,000 full-time students plus hundreds of staff and faculty. This project reduces Carleton's carbon footprint by approximately 10 percent.

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