State partners with SunEdison to bring solar energy to college campuses


With California State University, Dominguez Hills and its 525-kilowatt solar electric parking canopy as a backdrop, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger last week announced the state has partnered with SunEdison to provide affordable solar power at 15 California State University (CSU) campuses and the CSU Chancellor’s Office.
The innovative public-private partnership will bring online an eight-megawatt-sized solar photovoltaic system to the CSU campuses, which is expected to deliver approximately 12 million kilowatt hours of clean renewable energy in the first year of operation. This amount of solar-generated electricity represents five percent of the entire CSU system’s yearly energy consumption. Over the life of the contract, the partnership will offset approximately 9,485 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent of removing 48,937 cars from the road.
New SunEdison solar panels will be installed on rooftops, atop parking canopies and in ground-mounted arrays at the following locations: California Maritime Academy, CSU Bakersfield, CSU Channel Islands, CSU Chico, CSU Fullerton, CSU Humboldt, CSU Los Angeles, CSU Monterey Bay, Cal Poly Pomona, CSU Sacramento, CSU San Bernardino and its satellite Palm Desert campus, CSU San Francisco, CSU San Marcos, CSU Stanislaus, and the CSU Office of the Chancellor.
In 2006, CSU Dominguez Hills became among the first CSU campuses and state facilities to participate in the power-purchase agreement when SunEdison had a 3,288 panel solar electric canopy installed over a parking lot on campus. The system produces approximately 800,000 kilowatts a year for the university, the equivalent of nearly a quarter of the university’s electricity needs. More importantly, the system produces clean renewable energy onsite. The CSU Dominguez Hills project serves as a prime example of the types of installations that will be seen in the coming year on the other CSU campuses as a result of the partnership.
As state government’s contract manager, the Department of General Services (DGS) negotiated the alternative financing method as a power-purchase agreement for the CSU. The agreement allows CSU to buy renewable power at or below current retail rates, while avoiding the cost to install the system. Under this agreement, SunEdison will finance, build and operate the solar panels for 20 years.
DGS also recently launched an online database identifying where solar panels, fuel cells, wind turbine and other green energy technologies are generating renewable power at state office buildings, prisons, hospitals and college campuses, which can be found at
California’s push to fight global warming and increase renewable energy will also boost our economy, according to an economic study released last week by the University of California at Berkeley and Next 10, which states that California’s policies will create as many as 403,000 jobs in the next 12 years and household incomes will increase by $48 billion.

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