SunPower, California college dedicate 3.2-MW solar project

Southwestern College and SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) recently dedicated a 3.2-MW solar power system on the college’s Chula Vista campus in California.

Southwestern College estimates that the solar energy project—which is the largest single site of energy generation for an educational institution in San Diego Gas & Electric‘s service area—will help offset the college’s energy costs by approximately $600,000 annually.

“It makes sense to use the clean, renewable resource of the sun to power our college sustainably,” said Dr. Melinda Nish, superintendent/president of Southwestern College, in a Nov. 20 statement. “We think this is an investment of Proposition R dollars that will continue to pay dividends for the college community for many years to come.”

The project cost $13m and was funded by Proposition R, a general obligation bond passed by voters in 2008. Proposition R is the $389m general obligation bond passed by voters in 2008. Proceeds from the bond are to be used for construction, reconstruction and/or rehabilitation of facilities, including the furnishing and equipping of its facilities, acquisition or lease of real property for its facilities and construction management by district personnel.

SunPower solar panels, which generate up to 41% more power and have a lower degradation rate than conventional solar panels, are installed on solar shade structures in six of the college’s parking lots. Installing solar systems in parking areas takes advantage of underutilized space and provides needed shade.

“Southwestern College can rely on its high quality SunPower solar systems to deliver guaranteed performance for the next 25 years or more,” said Howard Wenger, SunPower president, business units. “It is extremely rewarding to help our educational institutions thrive using power from the sun.”

Established in 1961, Southwestern College is the only public institution of higher education in southern San Diego County, serving approximately 400,000 residents of communities including Bonita, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, National City, Nestor, Otay Mesa, Palm City, San Ysidro, Sunnyside and Coronado. 

SunPower designs, manufactures and delivers the highest efficiency, highest reliability solar panels and systems available today. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.