California State University Goes Solar

SACRAMENTO, California, October 21, 2008 (ENS) - The state of California has partnered with SunEdison to provide affordable solar power at 15 California State University campuses and the CSU executive office.

Under the power purchase agreement signed Monday, SunEdison will finance, build and operate the solar panels for 20 years. California State University will be able to buy the renewable power they generate at or below current retail rates while avoiding the cost of installing the system.

The public-private partnership will protect the environment by providing a zero-emission eight megawatt solar photovoltaic power system to the university campuses.

This amount of solar power covers five percent of the CSU system's annual energy use. Over the life of the contract, the partnership will offset about 9,485 metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of removing 48,937 cars from the road, the university calculates.

"California is going green and we are doing it first and we are doing it fast," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "With the partnership being announced today between California and SunEdison, we are seeing more tangible results and more follow through in reducing our state's carbon footprint. This partnership is a good deal for the state, the planet and our economy - all at no cost to taxpayers."

David Buzby, chief executive officer of SunEdison, said, "California leaders have turned the vision of renewable energy for the state into results. SunEdison is proud to be part of this important public-private partnership and to help make solar a meaningful part of California's energy portfolio."

New SunEdison solar panels will be installed on rooftops, atop parking canopies and in ground-mounted arrays at the CA Maritime Academy in Vallejo and the 15 campuses at CSU Bakersfield, Channel Islands, Chico, Fullerton, Humboldt, Los Angeles, Monterey Bay, Pomona (Cal Poly), Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Bernardino, Palm Desert, San Francisco, San Marcos, Stanislaus, and the CSU Office of the Chancellor, Long Beach.

"California's continued economic, environmental and social prosperity depends on sustainable energy and technology," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. "As the nation's largest university system, the CSU welcomes this opportunity to lead the way."

CSU has been working with SunEdison since 2006.

Mike Bates, energy and facilities trades manager, CSU, Chico, said, "SunEdison was selected by the California State University system because there were no up-front costs to the university. The entire solar project, the installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting is covered by SunEdison with no out-of-pocket costs to the university."

"Basically, we are leasing our roof to SunEdison, they come in and install their panels, and we pay them a fixed rate with an annual escalation for the power generated from the solar panels over the next 20 years."

The solar power purchase agreement is expected to yield 20 megawatts of new renewable energy for the state.

In addition, five state prison sites and three state mental hospitals are scheduled to get a total of seven megawatts of solar power, according to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Department of Mental Health.

Since 2006, 4.2 megawatts of solar power have been installed at eight other state facilities through similar power purchase agreements.

Anyone who wants to know where solar panels, fuel cells, wind turbines and other green energy technologies are generating renewable power at state office buildings, prisons, hospitals and college campuses can go to a new online database provided by the California Department of General Services, the agency that facilitated the solar power purchase agreements. Find it at:

California's push to fight global warming and increase renewable energy is expected to boost the state's stressed economy by $76 billion by 2020, according to a economic study released Monday by the University of California at Berkeley and Next 10, a nonprofit organization promoting environmental innovation in California.

Tough state mandates requiring Californians to reduce their carbon footprints and use more homegrown renewable energy will create more than 403,000 "new efficiency and climate action driven jobs" in the next 12 years, the study shows.

California's household incomes are projected to increase by a total of $48 billion, and the study found that consumers will even be able to save on their lighting bills.

{Photo: SunEdison solar array at CSU Chico, installed in 2006, courtesy SunEdison.}

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.

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