From Green Right Now Reports
Administrators at Butte College in Northern California said that next spring the college will become the first in the nation that is grid positive—producing more clean energy from sustainable on-site solar power than it uses.
The Oroville, Calif., college located on a 928-acre wildlife refuge recently received approval from its Board of Trustees to complete its Phase III solar project. By May 2011, the school will add approximately 15,000 solar photovoltaic panels—or 2.7 megawatts—to its current 1.85 megawatts or 10,000 solar panels. That will ultimately make the college the largest solar producing college in the world with a system total of 4.55 megawatts of clean renewable energy generation capability.
Officials said the college will generate more than 6.381 million kilowatt hours per year – enough electricity to power more than 9,200 average-sized homes, or the equivalent of removing 6,000 passenger cars from the roadways.
Dr. Diana Van Der Ploeg, Butte College president, credits the college’s transformation into a national leader in sustainability to student engagement both at the college and in the community. She cited infusion of sustainability into the curriculum, workforce development focused on green jobs, LEED certified buildings, sustainable land use management, and operation of the largest community college student transportation system in California.
The new 15,000 solar panels will be placed atop rooftops and will create covered parking areas and walkways, in addition to being mounted on the ground. The total funding for the project is $17 million, which $12.65 million is made possible by federal Clean Renewable Energy Bonds, which are low-interest loans that can be used for clean energy projects. The remainder, up to $4.35 million, will be funded by college.