PV Array to Handle 60 Percent of Campus Needs

A college campus is usually a maze of diversified energy interests with a little effort here and a little effort there used to cut down on overall power consumption. However, at Cerro Coso Community College (CCCC) in California they’ve taken care of up to 60 percent of the campus power needs with a 1 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) array right on the campus grounds. Solar energy project developer WorldWater & Power Corporation supplied the equipment for the US$8.9 million project.

“In light of difficult economic times for community colleges, this solar field will provide some budgetary relief for Cerro Coso Community College,” said CCCC President Sharon K. Dyer. “I am grateful to Southern California Edison for the matching funds and to the voters of Kern County for supporting Proposition 39. Cerro Coso will have the largest solar field of any community college in the nation and we believe it to be the second largest field in the State of California. It represents a much needed savings for the College.” The general project design consists of 6.5 acres of ground mounted Sharp Electronic solar modules, and a freestanding concrete building to house the inverters, distribution equipment and student laboratory space. The building is sized for a 50 percent PV future expansion. Southern California Edison (SCE), Contra Costa Electric and Sharp Electronics did work on the project as well. The PV array is believed to be the largest system ever installed on any community college campus. Power generated by the array should reduce the power needs of the Kerns Community College District, of which CCCC is a part, and provide approximately 60 percent of the electrical needs for the CCCC campus. The college expects to save a minimum of $300,000 per year in electric bills, and use the savings to support the academic curriculum. SCE provided seed incentive for the project as a matching grant to Measure G bond funds in Kerns County. The utility also has a net metering agreement with the campus.


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