Porterville College to Offset up to 80 Percent of Electricity Use with Solar Elevated Shade Structure Energy System from Borrego Solar
Borrego Solar will Install 1.12 Megawatts on Solar Elevated Shade Structure on the College’s Parking Lot, Resulting in Expected Energy Savings of Nearly $6.5 Million Over Life of the System
One of the three colleges making up the Kern Community College District (KCCD) serving Kern, Tulare, Inyo and San Bernadino Counties—today announced it is partnering with Borrego Solar Systems Inc. to install 1.12 megawatts (MW) of solar energy capacity on a solar elevated shade structure over its parking lots. The $4 million installation is expected to deliver an estimated $6.5 million in energy savings over the life of the system.
The solar installation’s generation will meet 70 percent to 80 percent of the campus’ electricity demand. The sites will be net-metered, meaning that any solar energy not consumed by the campus will be fed into the local electricity grid.
“We are extremely excited to be able to install solar panels to assist the college and the community with energy savings and to continue to plan for the future,” said PC President Dr. Rosa Flores-Carlson. “KCCD has been working on bringing renewable energy to all three of its campuses: Bakersfield College, Cerro Coso and now, Porterville College. We have been waiting for a long time to be able to participate in energy savings for our current and future needs,” Carlson continued. “Living in the Central Valley, we have the on-going natural sunlight that many other communities do not have and it is imperative that we utilize it.”
The system will generate an estimated 1.9 megawatt-hours of electricity in its first year of operation — enough electricity to power approximately 250 homes annually. The installation is expected to offset 1,312 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is the equivalent of taking 276 cars off the road or the amount of carbon sequestered by 1,076 acres of U.S. forests.
Adopting solar energy also furthers Kern Community College District’s objective of reducing the price uncertainty of ongoing costs. Investing in solar energy mitigates the financial risk of rising energy costs.
“From the beginning, Kern Community College District had a clear idea of the goals it wanted to achieve through solar thanks to proper due diligence, working with a qualified consultant, and up front coordination with the local utility,” said Fnan Araia, Borrego Solar project developer for the Porterville College project. “As a result, Kern CCD leadership understood its energy-use profile and the return on investment solar could realistically deliver. Any institution thinking of taking advantage of solar should start the conversation early, just as Porterville College did, to get the project off the ground quickly and make sure it is choosing the right partners for the job.”
Borrego Solar is currently building solar installations for schools and colleges throughout California, including College of the Sequoias, Newport Mesa Unified School District and Glendale Unified School District.