A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
November 9, 2006 Volume 37 / Number 3


Up on the Roof

Partnership Provides Solar Power to the University

Solar panels installed on the roofs of Yolo Hall and Acker Gym began supplying power to the University in October, thanks to a partnership with SunEdison, the nation’s largest solar energy service provider.

There are 1,212 three-by-four-foot solar panels on the two roofs. They generate about 300 kilowatts of power per hour, the first solar power generation for the University.

“The savings to the University translates into about $282,000 over the 20-year period of the contract,” said Mike Bates, facility/energy manager for CSU, Chico. “The agreement allows us to avoid the volatility of fuels costs by pre-purchasing our fuel. It is also clean energy and helps us to contribute to the University’s goal of sustainable energy practices.”

The solar arrays provide enough power for approximately 70 homes and reduce carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to what is produced by approximately 430 commuter vehicles, said Bates.

SunEdison is covering the $2.8 million cost to install and operate the systems over the course of a 20-year contract with the University. CSU, Chico will buy the power back from SunEdison at approximately one cent per kilowatt less than its current rate. Bates said the solar arrays generate power to one substation that is directed to the PG&E grid. SunEdison receives federal “Green Tag” tax credits for installing solar power equipment that generates renewal energy.