Butte College in Oroville, California is now the largest solar-producing campus in the state after revealing three new solar projects that will allow the campus to become carbon neutral by 2015. The college, which hopes to save US$32.6 million in 20 years from reduced energy costs and a fixed energy-use fee, is currently 44% solar powered after installing the new energy-capturing panels.
The 2,400, 185W Mitsubishi Electric solar panels cover three areas of the campus, making up 450kW DC and amount to 675,000kWh of solar power every year.
Butte College, which has just begun offering “green classes” and workshops in sustainability studies and buildings, has just constructed its first 1.06MW DC solar system. The project, made up of 5,700 solar panels, stretches across a four-acre field and brings the campus’ estimated energy generation to 2.7 million kWh every year.
The solar array by the wastewater treatment plant will serve as a training lab for students and faculty, according to its designer Chico Electric. Classes here will include solar panel installations into solar arrays.
The college hopes to install another solar project in May near the Child Development Center to make the campus at least 50% solar powered.
The newest projects cost a combined US$3.42 million, financed by Bank of America which issues a 10-year, US$20 billion environmental initiative to address climate change. PG&E’s California Solar Initiative, which worked alongside the college, supplied a US$700,000 rebate check.