CSU sees the light, adds more solar power

September 9, 2010 10:24am

•  Will more than double current solar power output

•  ‘Our campuses are the proving ground’

California State University says it’s now in the third phase of an agreement that significantly cuts the 23-campus system's dependence on non-renewable power. 

Projects at 21 of the 23 CSU campus locations and the chancellor's office are under consideration for the third phase of a solar power agreement put together by the California 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," says CSU Chancellor Charles Reed.

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," says Len Pettis, chief of plant, energy and utilities at the CSU Chancellor’s Office. “It is a great example of successful public/private partnerships.”

The first phase of the DGS-arranged solar power-purchase agreement was announced in 2008. It 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 three phases of the current power-purchase agreement comprise the majority of CSU solar power installations. However, some campuses have pursued other means of installing solar power.

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