Public Affairs

California State University Doubles Solar Power Capacity

Third phase of a power-purchase agreement to bring
13 megawatts in new solar installations

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Erik Fallis (562) 951-4800

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(September 9, 2010) –The California State University has entered into the third phase of an agreement that significantly cuts the system's dependence on non-renewable "dirty" power.

Projects at 21 CSU campus locations and the Chancellor's Office are under consideration for the third phase of a solar power agreement put together by the State of California’s Department of General Services. The projects would add nearly 13 megawatts of solar capacity for the university system, more than doubling the 12 megawatts already existing, in construction, or planned for 2011.

"Our campuses are the proving ground for efforts to create a cleaner and greener California," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. "As the nation's largest public university, we are committed to setting an example of sustainability for others to follow."

Campus locations under consideration for new solar installations include the California Maritime Academy, Bakersfield, Channel Islands, East Bay, Fresno, Fullerton, Humboldt, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pomona, Sacramento, San Francisco, San José, San Luis Obispo, San Marcos, Sonoma, Stanislaus, CSUEB Concord, SDSU Imperial Valley, CSUSB Palm Desert, and CSUS Stockton.

Under the power-purchase agreement, 15 qualified private companies will compete to finance, build, operate and maintain the solar panels for 20 years. The agreement allows CSU to buy renewable power at or below current retail rates while avoiding the initial cost of installing the system.

"This agreement is a fast, affordable and effective way for the CSU to meet our renewable energy goals," said Len Pettis, chief of plant, energy and utilities at the CSU Chancellor’s Office. “It is a great example of successful public/private partnerships.”

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the CSU announced the first phase of the DGS arranged solar power-purchase agreement in 2008. The first phase included 3.6 megawatts of solar installations, all of which are completed. The second phase will be completed in 2011, adding up to 8 megawatts. The third phase is scheduled to be completed by 2012 and is by far the largest in terms of number of projects and the added solar power capacity.

The three phases of the current power-purchase agreement comprise the majority of CSU solar power installations. However, some campuses have pursued other means of installing solar power. An update on current CSU solar power installations is available here.

The combined 25 megawatts of solar power on CSU campuses is estimated to reduce more than 13,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually – the equivalent of taking more than 2,600 cars off the road or powering more than 1,600 homes.

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About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 433,000 students year round and 44,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees, about 90,000 annually. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. A recent economic report found that the CSU supports more than 150,000 jobs statewide, annually. The engine driving job creation is more than $17 billion in economic activity that directly results from CSU-related spending that generates $5.43 for every dollar the state invests. The mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California.

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