The University of California system is now getting 60 megawatts (MWs) of solar power from the Five Points Solar Park. The Fresno County solar farm is supplying about 14 percent of the university system’s electricity needs. When the project reaches completion in 2017 it will supply 80 megawatts of solar power to the university system under a 25-year power-purchase agreement and is the largest solar purchase by a university system in the US.
The Five Points Solar Park also is doubling as an educational resource for UC faculty and students. As part of the university system’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative UC will use the solar farm to help it meet its plans to reach net-zero emissions from its buildings and vehicle fleet by 2025.
“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,” said 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 the energy from the solar farm owned by Centaurus Renewable Energy, the university also employs has 36.5 MWs of solar installed on its campuses and has an additional 18.3 MWs of projects planned to come online within the next year.
UC previously planned on installing 10 MWs of solar onsite by 2014. The university system accomplished that goal two years early and has more than tripled the amount of on-campus solar since.
No other university system has achieved anything close to the same level of solar production but others are showing interest in solar power and using it in novel ways. The University of Florida received a grant last year to test a 200 kilowatt battery with a 100 kilowatt solar array to determine the effectiveness of the system. In another case, George Washington University’s Virginia Science and Technology Campus installed the world’s first PV sidewalk made of walkable PV panels, to demonstrate solar technologies and reduce the amount energy that the campus consumes from the grid.Tweet