June 14, 2010 - A much-anticipated solar energy project expected to provide 25 to 30 percent of CSUB's total energy usage is set to break ground today. Upon completion at the end of summer, the 1 megawatt solar photovoltaic collection system will also provide shade cover to 500 parking spaces on the south side of campus.
The $9.5 million project is being paid for by SunEdison, part of a public-private partnership with 15 CSU campuses to fund and build solar power projects. The project leads to both a reduction in the university's carbon footprint, and in its electrical costs. The solar power sold by SunEdison will cost about 5 percent less than what CSUB is now paying Pacific Gas & Electric.
"We get 20 years of energy at a slightly lower rate and from a sustainable source," said Pat Jacobs, Assistant Vice-President for Facilities Planning Development and Operations. "We're doing something green for the environment, it helps the bottom line of the university, and I think people will enjoy having covered parking."
From June 14 to Sept. 5, parking lots E and I will be closed for the installation. The Facilities Department requested the construction take place during summer when the parking lots are least used. Jacobs said it will take about one more month after fall quarter starts to configure the system to go online.
Underground conduits will carry the DC electricity created by the solar collectors to an inverter station next to the Facilities Department's building, which is at the southern edge of Parking Lot E. The station will convert the electricity to AC, then send it underground to tie into the campus' system.
The solar project fits into CSUB's overall strategy to reduce its carbon footprint, says Jacobs, who is one of two co-chairs of the university's Sustainability Committee. CSUB President Horace Mitchell pledged to curb emissions when he signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment in 2007.
The eventual goal is to become carbon neutral - to not produce more carbon emissions than can be offset. Already, students have studied the amount of carbon emissions created by campus activities to create a baseline. Now the committee is developing a plan to reduce that amount.
For more details about the solar project, contact Pat Jacobs at (661) 654-2211, or Felix Garcera, Director of Facilities Operations and project manager for the SunEdison project, at (661) 654-3283.
For more information:
Media ContactColleen Dillaway, Director of Public Affairs & Communications