Butte College unveiled a solar project on its main campus, with the addition of 2,352 solar panels, making it the fifth solar project the college has embarked on in the last four years.
The new solar panels are perched on top of a campus parking lot, near the welding area, and will produce 545,400 kWh each year. The new array will provide energy for seven buildings and four greenhouses, including the child development center, physical sciences building, mechanized agriculture, welding, agriculture storage building, horticulture building, and heavy equipment building.
"Butte College has become the largest solarized campus in the state as nearly 45 percent of our campus is energized with solar power. This project helps bring us closer to our goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2015," said Diana Van Der Ploeg, Butte College president. "We are committed to modeling sustainability at Butte College from our academic programs, career programs and student activities--to our land use practices. We would like to thank our partners: Pacific Gas and Electric, Chevron Energy Solutions and Banc Of America Public Capital for making this effort possible."
According to Mike Miller, Butte College director of facilities, the campus will produce approximately 11.7 megawatt hours (mWh) of electricity during its lifetime and the college will pay a fixed energy-use fee and not be subjected to energy price increases after the system is paid.
"In one year alone, this solar project will reduce emissions of 630,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, 2,474 pounds of sulfur dioxide, 1,841 pounds of nitrogen oxide and two pounds of mercury," said Miller.
Tino Nava, PG&E account manager said the college is committed to modeling sustainability throughout its campus community and was on hand to present the college with a PG&E California Solar Initiative rebate check for $833,000. "We're proud to be an active partner in the college's sustainable efforts."
Chevron Energy Solutions designed and installed the solar photovoltaic system. The financing was provided by Banc of America Public Capital Corp. The project began in January and the total cost was $4.2 million.
"This project is an example of how education institutions can use clean, renewable power to achieve environmental benefits and cost savings," said Jim Davis, president of Chevron Energy Solutions. "We are proud to work with Butte College to help them achieve their sustainability goals."
With the cost of energy increasing, Miller said the college could realize an estimated $8 million in savings over the life of the program.
"Butte College is making great strides in its efforts to be carbon neutral," said Linda Crothers, president of Banc of America Public Capital Corp. "We are pleased to partner with the college to save money and reduce their carbon footprint."
Butte College, located in Oroville, California is a two year academic institution, offering associate of arts or sciences degrees, over 100 career programs, and general education classes to transfer to a four year college or university. The campus rests on a 928 acre wildlife refuge and was recognized as a national community college leader in sustainability as the grand prize winner of the 2008 National Wildlife Federation's Chill Out Contest: Campus Solutions to Global Warming. The college is hosting an annual sustainability conference August 13 and 14 to share best sustainable practices among colleges and business owners.