One-Megawatt Solar Power Installation Begins

Installation has begun on the largest solar electric systems at a university in the world — and one of the largest solar energy systems in the nation at California State University, Hayward. The 1.05-MW solar electric system, being built by Berkeley-based PowerLight, will deliver approximately 30 percent of the campus’ peak electrical demands, said the company.

Hayward, California – November 4, 2003 [] Cal State Hayward’s solar system, covering more than 75,600 square feet, will feature rooftop arrays on four of the university’s largest buildings, Physical Education, Music and Business, Arts and Education, and Meiklejohn Hall. The $7.11 million project will generate roughly 1,450,000 kWh annually, producing enough electricity in the daytime to power more than 1,000 homes, said the company. A total of 5,260 solar tiles will be laid and construction should be completed by December, according to university energy specialist Terry Beebe. The cost of the new solar energy system to the university will be approximately US$3.55 million, which is being financed over 15 years through utility savings from the project, according to Richard Metz, vice president, Administration and Business Affairs. Another $3.55 million will be paid through a rebate from the California Public Utilities Commission that will be provided to the university through Pacific Gas and Electric. We’re thrilled that solar power is being deployed at Cal State Hayward,” said Norma S. Rees, CSUH president. “With this solar electric installation, Cal State Hayward will have a cost-effective, reliable, non-polluting system that we’re told will reduce our electricity bill by $200,000 anuallly. We hope to set an example for the entire CSU system, as well as universities across the country.” Solar energy will provide the university with operational flexibility, according to Metz. “It will enable us to generate our own power, especially during the summer months when electricity prices are the highest and the grid is most constrained,” Metz said. “The system will give the university a hedge against the fluctuating costs of energy and related supplies and will lower annual maintenance costs and increase the life of the buildings.” “By investing in on-site solar generation, Cal State Hayward is effectively reducing its purchases of expensive peak electricity and doing its part to address California’s ongoing energy challenges,” said PowerLight president Dan Shugar. “In addition to generating electricity, PowerLight’s solar system provides thermal insulation and protects the roof from weather and UV radiation. These benefits result in decreased heating and cooling energy costs and extended roof life.” Powerlight said that over the next 25 years, the solar-generated electricity will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by nearly 8,700 tons. These emission reductions are equivalent to planting 2,450 acres of trees or removing 1,700 cars from California’s highways. Cal State Hayward joins other organizations that have invested in large-scale, on-site solar electrical systems. Other PowerLight customers in Northern California include the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Contra Costa County’s administration building and correctional facility, San Mateo County Forensic Lab and Coroner’s Office, Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, Whole Foods Market in Berkeley, and National Park Service facilities at Yosemite.
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