The University of California (UC) has announced the completion of the Five Points Solar Park, a 60 MW solar installation built to supply renewable energy to the university. The array’s output represents roughly 14% of the total UC system’s electricity usage, and UC says the project is a key step toward the university’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2025.
The university notes that an additional 20 MW solar installation is set to come online by mid-2017. The full output from these two power projects, totaling 80 MW, will be going to UC under a 25-year power purchase agreement with project developer Centaurus Renewable Energy.
Nearly a quarter of the solar power will go to UC Davis, while the remainder will be shared among the other UC campuses and medical centers served by the university’s Wholesale Power Program. In addition to helping the university reach its goal under the Carbon Neutrality Initiative, the new solar power installations will also provide research and education opportunities for UC faculty, students and staff.
“As a national leader in sustainability, the University of California is taking on bold, new goals and transforming our approach to procuring and using energy in more sustainable ways,” says UC President Janet Napolitano. “Our partnership with Centaurus Renewable Energy will ensure that UC has a steady supply of cost-effective, climate-neutral electricity.”
In addition to purchased solar energy, UC has grown its onsite solar power production considerably in recent years. A total of 36.5 MW of solar photovoltaic technology has been installed across the campuses and medical centers, with an additional 18.3 MW planned within the next year. The UC system-wide goal of reaching 10 MW of onsite solar by 2014 was surpassed two years early, and has been more than tripled to date.
The Five Points Solar Farm consists of 271,200 panels, covering approximately three-quarters of a square mile of fallow farmland. Clenera, Centaurus Renewable Energy, Blymyer Engineers and Swinerton Renewable Energy cooperated in the design and construction of the Five Points project.
Photo credit: Elena Zhukova