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Our Work

Sustainable Solar at Cornell University

Cornell University recognizes that the accelerated expansion and socially equitable deployment of solar technology is key to the transition from fossil fuels to renewables. As New York state’s land-grant institution, we strive to become a leader in applied solar energy research by prioritizing an engagement-focused effort that capitalizes on existing partnerships between academic researchers, extension educators, community and government organizations, and the industry. As part of the Carbon Neutral Campus initiative, solar energy currently provides more than 20% of the campus’s electricity, and renewable production regularly meets 100% of campus demand on sunny, high-producing days year-round.

Large solar panel
Solar panels above green houses

Agrivoltaics & Ecosystem Services

Solar-power developers are exploring using lower-quality agricultural land for solar energy, known as agrivoltaics, boosting incentives for combined agriculture and solar options, to achieve green energy goals and increase rural resilience.

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Floating Solar Panels

Wildlife & Ecosystem Impacts

Developing science-based management recommendations for sustainable and conservation-minded solar energy development in the desert, on farms, and on the water, as well as the services these environments provide.

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Perovskite for more efficient solar panels

Solar Panel Reuse and Recycling

Researchers are devising more sustainable options for damaged and aging solar panels – employing novel materials, new processes to reclaim them, and reducing the panels’ carbon footprint.

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Solar Grazing Project Interns conduct insect sweeps. Photo by Daniella Garcia-Loos Ameida 2025

Summer Interns Spend Sunny Days Under the Solar Arrays

Students Milan Broughton ’24 and Claire Bloodnick MPS ’22 worked this summer on the Cornell Solar Grazing Project among solar arrays, grazing sheep, and livestock guardian dogs.

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Aerial photo of mums planted between solar panels on Remelt farm

Combining Solar Panels and Perennials

Cornell's Max Zhang discusses best practices for installing solar projects on mixed-use agricultural land on the Remelt family farm in Henrietta, NY.

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Cornell Researchers 

The following researchers are part of Cornell University's rich network of Solar Energy experts. (Explore Cornell Atkinson's network of faculty researchers)

Interested in Engaging With Solar Energy Research at Cornell?

Contact Max Zhang

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