Community College Installs Solar Power

One of the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in the nation was recently completed. The 1.06 MW solar array is an on-site generating system at Butte-Glenn Community College, and is the second largest community college solar installation in the U.S.

The solar system includes 5,700 solar panels on a four-acre field. It will generate 1.6 million kWh annually and can be monitored in real-time. Data will be posted to the web and an interactive kiosk on the college campus. “The solar project represents a major win for the college and our community,” said Diana Van Der Ploeg, Butte College president. “Solar saves money, improves the environment, and provides a wonderful opportunity to train students on environmental stewardship and alternative energy.” The college estimates it will save $300,000 annually from the solar system reducing the college’s utility bills by one-third. It prevents 1,238 tons of carbon dioxide, 870 pounds of nitrous oxide, and 21 pounds of sulfur dioxide from being released into the atmosphere annually. “The president, trustees and employees of Butte College have demonstrated an important lesson in the power of renewable energy and clean, on-site generation,” said David Rubin, PG&E’s director of service analysis. “PG&E is proud to support this project that will provide environmental and financial benefit for years to come.” Under California law, the college received a $3.7 million rebate from Pacific Gas & Electric toward the total cost of $7.4 million. PG&E’s self-generation incentive program allows utility customers installing on-site generation to obtain rebates to help offset the costs associated with any solar, wind, fuel cell, micro turbine or internal combustion engine cogeneration systems.
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