HAYWARD, CA, May 9, 2003 — The largest solar electric system at any university in the world –and one of the largest solar energy systems in the nation– will be installed at California State University, Hayward this summer. The project was authorized by the board of trustees of the California State University system on March 12, and is awaiting additional internal campus approval.
The 1.05 megawatt solar electric system, manufactured and installed by Northern California-based PowerLight Corporation, will provide a clean, reliable, cost-effective source of electricity, leveraging the area’s abundant sunlight. The on-site solar generation system will deliver approximately 30 percent of the campus’ peak electricity demand during the summer months.
Cal State Hayward’s solar system, covering over 110,000 square feet, will feature both rooftop and ground-mounted installations, leveraging currently unused assets — rooftops and land. The solar rooftop array will be installed on three of the university’s largest buildings; Physical Education, Music and Business and Meiklejohn Hall.
The ground-mounted solar tracking system, which captures up to 30 percent more energy than fixed systems by following the sun, will be installed in an unused field. The Cal State solar project will generate roughly 1,450,000 kilowatt hours annually, producing enough electricity in the daytime to power more than 1,000 homes. Construction is expected to be completed on the campus buildings by July 2003.
“We’re thrilled that solar power is being deployed at Cal State Hayward,” said Norma S. Rees, CSUH president. “With this solar electric installation, Cal State Hayward will have a cost-effective, reliable, non-polluting system that will reduce our electricity bill by $200,000 annually, and contribute to the region’s overall environmental health. We hope to set an example for the entire CSU system, as well as universities across the country.”
There are 23 CSU campuses.
Solar energy will provide the university with operational flexibility, according to Metz.
“It will enable us to generate our own power, especially during the summer months when electricity prices are the highest and the grid is most constrained,” Metz said. “The system will give the university a hedge against the fluctuating costs of energy and related supplies and will lower annual maintenance costs and increase the life of the buildings.”
“By investing in on-site solar generation, Cal State Hayward is effectively reducing its purchases of expensive peak electricity and doing its part to address California’s ongoing energy challenges,” said PowerLight president Dan Shugar. “Cal State Hayward is helping our nation reduce its reliance on foreign oil and increasing our energy security. In addition to generating electricity, PowerLight’s solar rooftop system provides thermal insulation and protects the roof from weather and UV radiation. These benefits result in decreased heating and cooling energy costs and extended roof life.
“By avoiding the purchase of fossil fuel generated electricity, CSUH’s solar electric system will spare the environment from thousands of tons of harmful emissions, such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide–contributors to smog, acid rain and global warming. Over the next 25 years, the solar-generated electricity will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by nearly 8,700 tons. These emissions reductions are equivalent to planting 2,450 acres trees or removing 1,700 cars from California’s highways,” Shugar said.
Cal State Hayward joins other organizations that have invested in large-scale, on-site solar electrical systems. Other PowerLight customers in Northern California include the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Contra Costa County’s administration building and correctional facility, San Mateo County Forensic Lab and Coroner’s Office, Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, Whole Foods Market in Berkeley, and National Park Service facilities at Yosemite.
PowerLight builds and installs solar electric systems and complete energy solutions, including roof-mounted, ground-mounted and carport solar systems for industrial, commercial and government applications.