UC Merced Campus to Generate 20% of Electricity from Solar Energy

by | Nov 12, 2009

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UCMercadsolararrayHelping California meet its renewable energy goal by 2020, the University of California Merced campus has unveiled the university’s 1-megawatt (MW) solar power system. The system, consisting of 4,900 solar panels, will provide two-thirds of the campus’ electricity on summer days and 20 percent of the campus’ annual electricity needs.

This translates into more than $5 million in savings over the next twenty years, while eliminating 45 million pounds of carbon dioxide over the next 30 years. In addition, the faculty and students will use data collected from the array for research.

The solar system, which marks the university’s first renewable energy project, was developed through a power purchase agreement with SunPower Corp., a manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems. UC Merced owns the renewable energy credits.

The project is being financed through Wells Fargo under a sale leaseback transaction.

SunPower has built solar systems for other California universities including California State-East Bay, Napa Valley College, Ohlone College, Mendocino College and the Los Angeles Community College District.

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