A 2-Year College Takes the Lead in Generating Solar Power in California

Butte College, a two-year institution in northern California, says it has taken the lead among the state’s higher-education institutions in generating solar power.

Three new solar arrays at the college are expected to produce 675,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, enough to power 10 of the campus buildings. The arrays cost the college $3.42-million — and brought a $700,000 solar-rebate check from Pacific Gas & Electric, the utility company. The new arrays were added to a 2005 system, and together the arrays are designed to generate 2.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually. The college says it expects to save $32.6-million on its utility bills over the next 20 years.

The college is also taking advantage of its solar installations to plan new courses centered on sustainability, including a certificate program in sustainability studies. And it plans to erect a real-time energy kiosk at which students can see how the solar array is performing. In addition, the college offers workshops to teach local residents about sustainability.

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