West / Regional Reports

California State University Doubles Solar Power Capacity

October 18, 2010
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LONG BEACH, Calif. - California State University (CSU) has entered into the third phase of an agreement that significantly cuts the system’s dependence on grid power. Projects at 21 CSU campus locations and the Chancellor’s Office are under consideration for the third phase of a solar power agreement put together by the state of California’s Department of General Services. The projects would add nearly 13 megawatts of solar capacity for the university system, more than doubling the 12 megawatts already existing, in construction, or planned for 2011.

“Our campuses are the proving ground for efforts to create a cleaner and greener California,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “As the nation’s largest public university, we are committed to setting an example of sustainability for others to follow.”

Campus locations under consideration for new solar installations include the California Maritime Academy, Bakersfield, Channel Islands, East Bay, Fresno, Fullerton, Humboldt, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pomona, Sacramento, San Francisco, San José, San Luis Obispo, San Marcos, Sonoma, Stanislaus, CSUEB Concord, SDSU Imperial Valley, CSUSB Palm Desert, and CSUS Stockton.

Under the power-purchase agreement, 15 qualified private companies will compete to finance, build, operate, and maintain the solar panels for 20 years. The agreement allows CSU to buy renewable power at or below current retail rates while avoiding the initial cost of installing the system.

“This agreement is a fast, affordable, and effective way for the CSU to meet our renewable energy goals,” said Len Pettis, chief of plant, energy and utilities at the CSU Chancellor’s Office. “It is a great example of successful public/private partnerships.”

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and CSU announced the first phase of the Department of General Services-arranged solar power purchase agreement in 2008. The first phase included 3.6 megawatts of solar installations, all of which are completed. The second phase will be completed in 2011, adding up to 8 megawatts. The third phase is scheduled to be completed by 2012 and is by far the largest in terms of number of projects and the added solar power capacity.

The combined 25 megawatts of solar power on CSU campuses is estimated to reduce more than 13,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually, the equivalent of taking more than 2,600 cars off the road or powering more than 1,600 homes.

For more information, visit www.calstate.edu.

Publication date: 10/18/2010

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