Gavilan College Taps SunPower For Solar+Storage Project

Gavilan College recently selected SunPower to deploy a fully integrated solar and storage project at its campus in Gilroy, Calif. A SunPower Helix Carport system totaling about 1.4 MW will be installed across two of the college’s largest parking lots, enhanced by a 250-kW (500 kWh) energy storage solution from Stem Inc. to help deliver significant demand charge savings.

System construction is currently underway, with completion expected before the end of 2017. To help finance the project, Gavilan Joint Community College District secured U.S. Department of Treasury clean renewable energy bonds (CREBs), which allow public sector entities to fund renewable energy projects, with a 1.05% interest rate after a federal tax credit. The district will own the solar power system along with the associated renewable energy credits.

“Investing in cleaner energy while providing covered parking for our students with this solar carport system made complete sense for us,” says Frederick E. Harris, vice president of administrative services at Gavilan College. “Together with SunPower, we have designed a unique system that will offset approximately 75 percent of our electricity use on the Gilroy campus, include a storage system allowing us to avoid expensive utility demand charges, feature enhanced parking lot lighting, and incorporate up to 102 electric car charging stations in compliance with the California Green Building Code.”

SunPower says its complete carport solution features high-efficiency solar panels that maximize energy production and is backed by a power and product warranty. Stem Inc. will provide an AI-driven energy storage solution to help maximize the value of the solar project.

“We’re especially excited about SunPower’s 25-year Demand Assurance Guarantee that covers product performance, energy production, operation and maintenance,” says Harris. “Combined with system monitoring capabilities and innovative classroom curriculum that SunPower has developed, we’ll have the ability to create valuable instructional opportunities for our students and community members.”

SunPower says it has long been a trusted solar partner for colleges and schools in California, and Nam Nguyen, the company’s executive vice president, adds, “We look forward to helping Gavilan College reduce energy costs over the long term, delivering more value over the system’s useful life.”

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