Rocklin, Calif- Sierra Community College District announced the completion of the first phase of two solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, located at its Rocklin and Grass Valley, California campuses. The systems are the result of a public/private partnership with Borrego Solar Systems, Inc. and will benefit the college and the community in a number of ways, including financial savings, student internships, and ongoing private sector jobs.
The zero-emission systems will save the district nearly $2 million in energy savings over the term of the agreement. The system at the Rocklin campus will be 971 Kilowatts (KW) and Grass Valley campus will benefit from a 282 KW system.
They will be operated and maintained under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Borrego Solar. Through the PPA, Sierra College avoids the upfront cost of financing the solar installation and equipment, and in turn agrees to purchase approximately 1,883,400 kWhs of clean energy per year at below-the-grid rates In the first year of operation, this will amount to around $50,000 in savings, and as utility rates for traditional forms of energy rise over time (historically at 3%-5% per annum), the savings passed on to the Sierra Community College will increase too.
“This project and partnership offer many benefits,” commented Willy Duncan, Sierra President. “It will reduce our utility costs in a time of declining resources which will allow for more dollars to stay in the classroom and it is a step in the right direction toward using a clean, efficient energy source. Not to mention the fact that the students love the covered parking.”
Over 20 years of production, the zero-emission systems, will offset more than an estimated 72 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2) that would have been emitted during the production of electricity from fossil fuels. This is the equivalent of planting 648 acres of trees or conserving nearly 106,758 barrels of oil.
“We are thrilled to have been selected by Sierra Community College to be a part these projects and be able to help them take advantage of the long-term financial and environmental benefits of clean, renewable solar power,” said Mike Hall, CEO of Borrego Solar Systems, Inc. “Additionally, we are excited to do our part in helping to prepare students for future careers in clean technology fields.”