The University of California announced yesterday that it will make the largest solar energy purchase by any U.S. higher education institution to fulfill 60% of the energy needs on five campuses and three medical centers.
UC signed two Power Purchase Agreements with Frontier Renewables to secure the renewables energy for a 25 year period. The agreements will help the University meet its goal to make UC the first research university to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025 for all UC’s 10 campuses and five medical centers.
The projects will use two solar fields in Fresno County, with a combined capacity of 80 megawatts (MW). Construction on the solar fields — which have undergone a full environmental review and been approved by Fresno County — is expected to end in late 2016 for UC Irvine and its medical center, UC Merced, UC San Diego and its medical center, UC San Francisco and its medical center, and UC Santa Cruz.
The project also allows Frontier Renewables to consider education partnerships with UC researchers and students, such as research access to solar fields, the creation of a field station on the project site, internships, technology testing and curriculum development, according to UC News.