September 8th, 2010
By Erik Fallis
CSU Public Affairs
In light of the CSU announcement of an agreement to bring more than 13 megawatts of new solar power capacity, the following update features the numerous projects that already exist at the California State University.
In total, 12 megawatts of solar power are either currently in place or will be completed by 2011. Those projects are located on 18 campuses: Bakersfield, Channel Islands, Chico, Dominguez Hills, East Bay, Fresno, Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Monterey Bay, Northridge, Pomona, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, San Marcos and Sonoma.
The campuses featured below have an existing generation capacity of one megawatt or greater.
Why stop at solar?
Solar power is just one of many options being explored by CSU campuses. CSU San Bernardino, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and other campuses in the system are also exploring options to bring wind power. CSU Northridge took another approach, exploring fuel cell technology. While the fuel cell uses natural gas as a fuel, it produces electricity and cogenerated heat with high efficiency – capturing and channeling the water and carbon dioxide exhaust to support an on-campus rainforest. Other campuses in the CSU system are also exploring the use of fuel cells.
Best Plan: Use Less Energy
The biggest gain in reducing the CSU carbon footprint is found in the form of energy efficiency. In fact, the CSU uses less than half the energy per square foot of building than it did in the early 1970s. This is even with the increased energy demand for computers and other electronics.
Campuses continue to explore ways to make buildings more efficient. For example, Sacramento State’s American River Courtyard residence hall exceeds the state’s energy efficiency standards by 34.8 percent. The Environmental Technology Center (ETC) at Sonoma State University incorporates a wide range of sustainable building techniques and design features that minimize energy use, consuming less than half of the energy allowed by state code for similar buildings.