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Sac State undertakes solar energy project


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Photos: Smart Grid Center students install solar panels atop Riverside Hall

Sacramento State, which has won several awards for its contributions to sustainability and pollution prevention, is about to become even more energy-efficient with its Photovoltaic (PV) Electricity Generation Project.

During the next few months, the University will start buying electricity generated by solar PV panels located on the roofs of the Library and The WELL. The Library PV system is rated at 247 kilowatts (kW) and The WELL at 199 kW, for a total of 446 kW. The two systems will generate approximately 700,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually.

This project makes economic sense for the University because a private company owns and maintains the system. The contract is structured so that the University will simply purchase power from the system at a constant rate of $0.1086/kWh during the next 20 years, saving money over time.

Sac State currently uses about 43 million kWh per year, so this system generates about 1.6 percent of the total usage. “A key benefit is that it maximizes electricity generation at the same time of day when all of us are running our air conditioning and when the highest demand is on the electric grid,” says Linda Hafar, senior director of Sac State’s Sustainability and Plant Operations. “These systems not only provide relief to the electric grid, they do it without generating greenhouse gas emissions.”

This is a “win-win project,” Hafar says, noting that it benefits the University and the Sacramento region.

For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.

– Alan Miller