The University of California Davis (UC Davis) and SunPower Corporation have revealed plans to build a 16MW ground-mount solar array.
Once installed, it is claimed the array will be the largest solar energy project on a university campus in the US.
The 16MW installation will be designed and constructed, owned and operated by SunPower.
The plant will be built on 70 acres, south of Interstate 80, using SunPower’s Oasis Power Plant technology – with single axis trackers to track the sun throughout the day to increase the plant’s efficiency by 25%, according to the company.
The array will generate 33 million kWh per year and is to be cleaned using robotic cleaning technology to save on water usage.
The 16MW solar plant is scheduled for completion in 2015 and will provide 14% of the university’s energy needs as part of plans for one third of the campus’ energy needs to come from renewable sources by the end of 2015, a statement from the organisatinos said. The plant is estimated to reduce the university’s carbon footprint by 9% and will help it save on electricity costs, also protecting against predicted utility rate price increases in the future.
UC Davis chancellor, Linda Katehi said it is hoped that the success of the public-private partnership solar project “spurs similar initiatives at universities across the country”.
On campus there is also 5MW installed on car parks and buildings there is also already a 4MW solar installation by SunPower at the UC Davis West Village neighbourhood, which has its own grid.
Also this month UC signed power purchase agreements for solar energy from Frontier Renwables.