University of California Goes Solar With Largest Solar PPA By Any US University

solararrayrackAs part of the University of California’s sustainability initiatives, which includes going carbon neutral by 2025, the huge educational institution has signed two “groundbreaking” solar power purchase commitments, making it the largest purchaser of solar power by any US university.

The solar power purchase deals, through Frontier Renewables, will add 80 MW of solar capacity to the university’s current 11.4 MW of solar from rooftop panels on campus buildings and medical centers. There are also plans to add another 22.9 MW of solar arrays, some of which are already under construction. The added capacity of 80 MW is enough to power about 27,000 homes, and is estimated to be able to keep some 88,000 metric tons of carbon emissions out of the atmosphere.

“As a national leader in sustainability, the University of California is taking on bold, new goals and transforming our approach to procuring and using energy in more sustainable ways. Our partnership with Frontier Renewables will ensure that UC has a steady supply of cost-effective, climate-neutral electricity.” – UC President Janet Napolitano

The new 25 year solar purchase agreements will provide clean power to the campuses and medical centers of UC Irvine, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, UC Merced, and UC Santa Cruz. Two large solar farms, Five Points and Giffen Solar Parks (60 MW and 20 MW), will be built in Fresno County to supply the energy, and both are expected to be up and running by the end of 2016.

According to the University of California, no other higher education institution or college system has made as big of a commitment to solar as UC, with the closest contenders, American University, George Washington University, and George Washington University Hospital, only recently committing to purchasing 52 MW of solar power.

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September 11, 2014

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