California is well known for its renewable energy and its green schools but UC Davis is taking it up a notch by adding a massive solar array to their standing as a sustainability leader. Once built this will be the largest solar energy project in the University of California system and the largest solar power plant to offset electricity demand at a US university or college campus.
The project is expected to reduce the campus’ carbon footprint by 9 percent. Upon completion, a total of one-third of total campus electricity demand will be served with carbon-neutral energy. The 16MW, solar power plant is expected to generate 14 per cent of UC Davis’ electricity needs (33 million kilowatt-hours out of 228 million kilowatt-hours per year).
The project is the product of a public private partnership between UC Davis and Sunpower, which designed the plant. They will also build and oversee the project which is being constructed on a 70-acre site. Although it will be owned and operated by SunPower, the plant will protect the school from rising electricity costs. SunPower has already designed and build 4MW of solar capacity for the UC Davis West Village neighborhood, the nation’s largest net-zero community.
The plant will employ SunPower® Oasis® Power Plant technology which uses sun tracking technology and robotic panel cleaning capability that reduces water usage by approximately 90 per cent over traditional cleaning methods.
UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi. hopes that this project will spur, “similar initiatives at universities across the country.”
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