Butte College in California has become the first US college to go ‘grid positive,’ generating more electricity from its solar arrays than it consumes, and deliverering power back to the electric grid.
Located 75 miles from Sacramento and located on a 928-acre wildlife refuge, Butte College will see significant cost savings from its solar arrays. The college estimates it will save between US$50m and US$75m million over 15 years, even after accounting for project costs and interest.
It says this will be achieved by eliminating its electricity bill, getting paid for excess electricity production, and avoiding future electricity rate increases.
“Butte College has had a longstanding commitment to sustainability,” said Dr Diana Van Der Ploeg, Butte College president. “Achieving grid-positive status marks the culmination of years of effort to build Butte College’s supply of solar power and to improve energy efficiency on campus.”
Butte College now operates a total of 25,000 solar panels that will generate over 6.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year – enough to power over 941 average-sized homes.