Late Wednesday afternoon, I got a call from CSUB Facilities Director Felix Garcera. He was excited to tell me the first solar panels had been installed that day in Parking Lot I. This is part of a public-private partnership between SunEdison and the California State University to install solar energy systems on 15 campuses. By fall, 25 to 30 percent of CSUB’s energy will come from solar, thanks to SunEdison footing the bill for the $9.5 million project.
Thursday morning, Felix handed me a hard hat and up we went in the scissor lift to check out the view. Already a truck was parked under the shade of the solar panel – an added benefit of the project. Crews worked all around us, building the panels, and welding and painting the T-shaped support beams. The beams were starting to go up across the road in Lot E, as well, and another crew worked on constructing the inverter station next to the Facilities Department.
From the view above, I could see people swimming at the aquatic center, riding their bikes around campus, and practicing on the soccer fields. However, the air quality was not good enough to see the mountains to the east. The solar energy project helps with CSUB’s strategy to reduce our carbon footprint. Perhaps we’ll even be helping to clean the air a little. And, we’ll also be saving a couple bucks – SunEdison will charge CSUB about 5 percent less than what we pay PG&E for power.
– Jennifer Baldwin, CSUB Public Affairs Coordinator