Early last summer the Yuba Community College District (YCCD) embarked on a historic journey by successfully financing a multi-campus Solar Photovoltaic Electric Generating Project.
The multi-campus sites include Yuba College in Marysville, Woodland Community College (WCC), the Yuba College – Sutter County Campus, and the WCC – Colusa County Outreach Facility (CCOF). At 2.8 megawatts, the YCCD Solar Program is one of the largest community college solar projects in the state of California, and allows YCCD to continue with its mission of being a steward of sustainability in the community by creating and using alternative forms of energy to sustain and promote a healthy environment.
Today, YCCD is one step closer to completing its multi-campus solar project. At Yuba College, construction on the solar panels is 98% complete with all panels and electric main equipment having been installed and tested. Full commissioning for the Yuba College solar panels is slated for April 9-10.
Similarly, WCC is roughly 90% complete with the construction of its solar panels. All panels and electric main equipment has been installed. At WCC-CCOF, SunPower has begun physical construction of the parking lot canopy structures with completion expected in late April. The design work for the solar array for the Yuba College – Sutter County Campus has been completed and construction is to start shortly, with an anticipated end date of June 2012.
“As these solar projects move to completion, the District continues to send a strong and clear message to our communities that we are committed to green technology and energy efficiency as stated in our Sustainability Board Policy 6610,” said YCCD Board of Trustees Chair, Brent Hastey. “I would like to thank all of our staff for making this possible and for freeing up precious operational dollars in the future for educational services to students and our communities.”
It is anticipated that YCCD will receive nearly $3.1 million in rebates over the next five years, or just over $600,000 a year thanks to the multi-campus solar arrays. When the annual incentive payment is combined with an annual cost avoidance of over $800,000 for energy that the District will not have to purchase, YCCD will benefit in the amount of almost $1,500,000/year for the first five years. Additionally, it is anticipated that YCCD will achieve a gross energy savings of $19,581,702 over the life of the solar project.
The resources garnered from the energy savings will first be utilized to pay off the $15 million in Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds the District issued to finance the project, with the remainder being directed at supporting instructional programs.
The system consists of 8,384 panels spread out over the 4 sites. The total capacity of the system is 3,481 kWp with a 25 year energy production of 156 million kWh. That’s the equivalent of powering 488 single family homes per year or 12,200 over the course of 25 years. During that same time span, CO2 emissions will be reduced by 81 million pounds. Both WCC and Yuba College will have ground tracking systems covering 5.2 and 8.4 acres respectively, while the solar panels at CCOF and the Sutter County Campus will consist of parking canopies. When the project is completed it will generate two thirds of the electricity needed by the YCCD
“The culmination of the Solar Project ushers in a new era for YCCD where the District proudly takes on the role in our region as an environmental steward, helping to create a greener, cleaner future for our students and the communities we serve,” said Dr. Douglas Houston, YCCD Chancellor.
The Yuba Community College District spans eight counties and nearly 4,200 square miles of territory in rural, north-central California. It has colleges in Marysville and Woodland, an educational center in Clearlake, outreach operations at Beale Air Force Base and in Williams, and will be adding an outreach facility in Sutter County as part of the Measure J facilities bond. For more information about YCCD please visit our website at www.yccd.edu. ■