Butte College Plans Solar Project Expansion To Meet 100% Of Electrical Needs

Butte College in Oroville, Calif., says it will become the only college in the U.S. that is grid-positive, producing more energy from sustainable on-site solar power than it uses. The college has received approval from its board of trustees to complete its Phase III solar project, which adds approximately 15,000 solar photovoltaic panels producing 2.7 MW to its current 10,000 solar panels producing 1.85 MW.

The new 15,000 modules will be placed atop rooftops and will create covered parking areas and walkways, in addition to being mounted on the ground. The total funding for the project is $17 million, and $12.65 million was funded by federal Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs). The remainder, up to $4.35 million, will be funded by the college.

The funding to pay for all of the solar projects, is the funding budgeted annually to purchase electricity from the grid, and for Phase III, almost $1 million in rebates from Pacific Gas & Electric, the California Solar Initiative, and benefits from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act/CREBs allocations. The CREBs for the project were arranged and funded by Bank of America as part of its 10-year, $20 billion business initiative to address climate change.

The first component of the Phase 3 solar project includes the construction of 1,639 solar panels that will create covered parking spaces at the Butte College Chico Center and will generate 450kW DC. The installation of the 13 new solar arrays has started at the Chico Center campus and will culminate at the main campus. This project is scheduled to be completed by May 2011.

SOURCE: Butte College

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