Solar power generation project to provide 30 percent of CSUB’s electrical energy

October 21, 2008
Kathy Miller, 661/654-2456, or
Michele Newel, 661/654-2720,

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, in conjunction with the California State University and the California Department of General Services, announced today that California State University, Bakersfield is one of 15 CSU campuses selected to participate in a solar photovoltaic power generation project.

Through a public-private partnership agreement with SunEdison, the project will result in approximately 30 percent of CSUB's electrical energy being provided by solar power. The undertaking is intended to lower energy costs, promote renewable energy use and make the campus more environmentally friendly.

"This is a very exciting opportunity that will allow the university to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions," said Ashok Bhatt, CSUB project manager. "The solar project supports our vision of sustainability and is a great example of education and business sectors working together to improve the environment."

Parking canopies with solar panels mounted on the rooftops will be installed over about 500 existing campus parking spaces. The system, which is expected to generate over 2.1 million kilowatt hours per year, will be financed, built and operated by SunEdison, North America's largest solar energy services provider.

CSUB's solar power system will be equivalent to the annual energy consumption of approximately 150 homes, and will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 2.2 million pounds per year, equivalent to removing about 5,900 automobiles off the road.

"Cost of the project at CSUB is estimated at $9.5 million, all of which will be funded by SunEdison," Bhatt added. "We will purchase the solar energy at about five to 10 percent less than current retail rates while producing zero greenhouse gases."

University officials plan to begin meeting with SunEdison to begin designing the project. To avoid disrupting parking during the school year, it is expected that the canopies and solar panels will be installed during summer 2009.

The governor's announcement comes on the eve of CSUB's inaugural Campus Sustainability Day on Wednesday, Oct. 22. CSUB will be uniting with colleges and universities nationwide to raise awareness about ways students, faculty, staff and the community can contribute to the university's effort to limit environmental impacts.

President Horace Mitchell committed the campus to pursue climate neutrality when he joined presidents throughout the nation in signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment last year. The pledge commits CSUB to purchase energy-efficient appliances; ensure all new campus construction is built to the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver standard or equivalent; produce or purchase at least 15 percent of electricity from renewable sources; and adopt at least three waste reduction measures.

For additional information about CSUB's sustainability efforts and the solar panel project, please contact Bhatt at (661) 654-6253.