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3 Southern California Campuses Tap Solar Power

Three Southern California campuses have installed solar systems from Solar Power Partners and are generating power. The solar systems include an 878.22 kilowatt (kW) system at the University of California, San Diego; a 357.32 kW system at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego; and a 238.68 kW system at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena.

Each solar facility was financed and developed using a solar power purchase agreement (PPA), which allows SPP to own, operate, and manage the solar system for the length of the agreement and sell back the power to the university. The universities pay only for the energy produced by the system and put no cash up front, freeing capital for other projects and stabilizing their energy rates. SPP manages each facility through its dedicated asset management team, which uses real-time data monitoring to provide detailed management profiles for the systems. In addition to the solar PPA, SPP provided technology, design, and engineering project oversight to the projects.

"SPP's experience making solar power attainable for schools and universities makes for a great long-term partnership," said Bill Irwin, senior director of facility management at Caltech. "This economic means of gaining solar energy for the campus is part of Caltech's focus on sustainability and renewable energy. It saves money, fosters awareness, reduces the institute's environmental impact, and provides environment stewardship."

The Caltech solar system features a system on the Holliston parking garage, covering more than half of the top level. The system's estimated annual production output, according to a vendor statement, is equivalent to eliminating 527,000 pounds of CO₂ emissions from the air, removing 46 cars from operation, planting 72 acres of trees, or powering 38 average homes annually.

The UC San Diego solar arrays are installed on the rooftop of the student Price Center and on the Gilman Parking structure. The solar system is contributing towards the university's commitment to reduce greenhouse emissions as part of the Climate Action Registry.

Point Loma Nazarene has a fixed rooftop solar system, which SPP had partnered with SPG Solar to design, engineer, and install. The system produces an estimated 704,980 kWh annually, which is equivalent to 506 metric tons of carbon dioxide offset.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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