California college is first to go 'grid positive'
Dozens of colleges in the Mid-Atlantic and beyond have become community leaders in sustainability, producing alternative energy en masse and scaling back energy consumption dramatically.
American University, for one, says it will be carbon neutral by 2020. The University of Maryland made Princeton Review's Green Honor Roll for raising its recycling rate past 50 percent. Johns Hopkins University has pledged to halve its emissions over 15 years. The list goes on and on.
This release, though, caught my eye. Butte College in Northern California says it has become the first and only "grid positive" college in the nation, producing more clean energy than it uses.
Butte College is poised to become the largest collegiate producer of solar power in the world, generating enough electricity to power 9,200 homes.
(I think the shiny blue-metallic things in this picture are solar panels.)
The final phase of its solar project, to be completed in May, will "provide enough clean renewable energy to cover all of our electricity needs and generate slightly more than we use," said Diana Van Der Ploeg, college president.
There are solar panels mounted on the ground and on rooftops, and more will be placed atop covered parking areas and walkways -- solar power requires some serious square-footage.
Total funding for the project is $17 million, of which $13 million comes in low-interest bonds earmarked for clean energy. Once complete, the solar complex will actually earn the college a modest amount of revenue.
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Daniel de Vise
August 4, 2010; 12:29 PM ET
Categories: Administration , Community Colleges , Sustainability | Tags: Sustainability, carbon-neutral colleges, college recycling, college sustainability, green colleges
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