Solar PV Array Worth $4.3 Million Rebate

Utilities across the nation have instituted rebate programs for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, and sometimes they have to stand by their commitment with a large payout. Southern California Edison (SCE) presented a USD$4.3 million check to the Kern Community College District in Lake Isabella, California, for a PV array just under one MW that the school installed as a part of SCE’s Self-Generation Incentive Program.

The program is a state-sponsored initiative developed to encourage the installation of new low- or zero-emissions, self-generation units throughout the utility’s service territory. The program is intended to help customers and the state manage peak electrical demand and address ongoing air-quality concerns. Cerro Coso Community College invested a total of $9.2 million in the array, and the installation is believed to be the largest PV array of any community college in the nation. More than 6,100 Sharp PV panels were installed on 6.5 acres of college land, and the array has an installed capacity of 959 kW. WorldWater and Power provided additional equipment and was the project developer and construction firm. “On behalf of the Kern Community College District and Cerro Coso, we proudly accept this incentive award from Edison,” said Sharon K. Dyer, Cerro Coso president. “Having most of our power needs supplied by a green source benefits the college, the district, our community and our state.” On a sunny day, Cerro Coso’s PV array can supply enough electricity to meet most of the needs of the campus, which serves 2,700 students. SCE will augment or provide backup power for those times when the array does not fully meet the school’s electricity needs. In addition to the utility’s program rebate, school administrators estimate an annual energy cost savings of approximately $250,000.
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