Biggest Solar Energy Purchase
by James Ayre
The University of California higher education institution recently made the largest solar energy purchase in the US by a higher education institution, ever, as part of a new deal to power its many campuses and medical centers with renewables.
The purchase comprises two Power Purchase Agreements with the supplier Frontier Renewables to receive solar PV generated electricity for the next 25 years. In conjunction with that deal, the University system will supply 206,000 MW-hours per year of solar energy to the state's electrical grid.
Earlier this year the University's Wholesale Power Program was registered as a Electric Service Provider paging the path for it to provide electricity to the University system's ten campuses -- among which are UC San Diego, UC San Francisco and its medical center, UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine and its medical center, and UC Merced, and its medical center. The press release from the University of California provides more:
This new solar supply will allow the university's campuses served by the Wholesale Power Program to receive energy that is 60% sourced from renewable supply. Another portion of the supply will be used by UC Davis, which is served by Western Area Power Administration (WAPA)."As a national leader in sustainability, the University of California is taking on bold, new goals and transforming our approach to procuring and using energy in more sustainable ways," stated Napolitano. "Our partnership with Frontier Renewables will ensure that UC has a steady supply of cost-effective, climate-neutral electricity."
The agreements are major components of the University of California's sustainability initiative. Announced by UC President Janet Napolitano in November 2013, the initiative's goal is to make UC the first research university to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025, in part by re-examining the energy sources powering UC's 10 campuses and five medical centers.
As per the new arrangement, two solar projects comprising a total of 80 MW capacity are being constructed in Fresno County. Construction is currently expected to end in late 2016, with the projects then coming online sometimes around then.
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