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Calif. college goes 'grid positive'

June 29, 2011 at 6:57 PM   |   Comments

OROVILLE, Calif., June 29 (UPI) -- A California community college says it is the first in the country to go "grid positive," generating more electricity from its solar arrays than it consumes.

Butte College, located 75 miles from Sacramento, said it will see significant benefits from its solar arrays, estimating savings between $50 million and $75 million over 15 years.

The savings will come from eliminating it electricity bill, getting paid for excess electricity production delivered back to the grid, and avoiding future electricity rate increases, a college release said Wednesday.

"Butte College has had a longstanding commitment to sustainability," Diana Van Der Ploeg, Butte College's president, said.

"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."

The school now has a total of 25,000 solar panels generating more than 6.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, enough to power nearly 1,000 average-sized homes.

"Future generations are counting on us to address the profound challenge of global warming, and we know that our future prosperity will hinge on America's ability to be a leader in the clean energy economy," House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said. "Butte College's accomplishments in renewable energy and sustainability help show the way toward building a stronger economy while preserving the planet."

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