National University, the second-largest private, nonprofit institution of higher education in California and the 12th-largest in the United States, and SPG Solar, a national solar energy company, have completed an 852-kW DC solar power project at two National University campuses in San Diego. The two rooftop solar installations at the Spectrum Business Park Campus and a solar carport system spanning three parking locations at the Technology and Health Sciences Center in Kearny Mesa are a direct result of the university’s commitment to environmental conservation and sustainability.
“In 2009, Chancellor Jerry C. Lee encouraged National University to incorporate sustainability practices in all facets of its operations. These new systems demonstrate that commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Richard Carter, Vice Chancellor of Business Operations for the National University System. “These systems will not only reduce the equivalent of approximately 1,000 tons of pollutants annually, but they also have supported the development of sustainability management curriculum in our School of Engineering, Technology and Media.”
The solar power system was made possible through a solar power purchase agreement (PPA), arranged by SPG Solar and owned by an indirect subsidiary of Integrys Energy Services Inc. The agreement is structured with no upfront capital costs to the university.
With more than 3,000 solar panels, the optimized rooftop and carport systems will generate more than 1.4 million kWh of electricity annually — equivalent to producing enough electricity to power 127 average American homes annually. The energy produced from these systems will provide up to 85 percent of the electricity at the Technology and Health Sciences Center and 35 percent of the electricity at the Spectrum Business Park Campus. As an additional benefit, National University is expected to realize savings of more than $1.6 million over the next 20 years.
“National University is taking a fiscally responsible approach by saving energy and reducing costs through a Power Purchase Agreement, all while setting the bar for other universities to follow,” said Michael Johnson, Vice President of Structured Finance at SPG Solar. “It is a lot of fun working with clients like National University, where you bring the students to the rooftop and make it your classroom.”
The SPG Solar team spent a day on campus, leading a class, engaging students, and outlining the business case for solar.