California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) and SunPower Corp. announced that construction is underway on a 4.8-megawatt SunPower Helix Carport solar power system at two university parking areas. CSULB will purchase the solar power generated by the system under a power purchase agreement that offers competitive rates, enabling the university to offset approximately 15 percent of campus electrical load with clean, renewable solar power.
“With the cost-competitive solar generated by our SunPower systems, the university will control electricity costs and reduce our carbon footprint, serving our goal to achieve climate neutral operations by 2030,” said David Salazar, associate vice president at CSULB. “CSULB is proud to support California and the nation in our transition to clean and renewable energy sources to fight climate change and its negative effects on our students, staff and community by increasing our reliance on solar power. SunPower’s experience partnering with universities is as important to us as the proven high performance of its technology.”
The SunPower Helix platform is a fully-integrated solar solution for commercial customers. Available for installation as a carport, on the roof, or as a ground-mounted technology, Helix is a pre-engineered, modular solution designed to deliver more energy and greater reliability than conventional solar products. The elegant design of the Helix carport can also enhance the aesthetics on campus. Since launching the product late last year, SunPower has contracted a total of 40 megawatts of Helix Carport to deliver to customers in the commercial and public sectors.
In addition to generating power, the solar carports at CSULB will provide to the campus community needed shade and electric vehicle chargers with the capacity to charge 50 cars. All of the systems are expected to be operational by the end of next year. CSULB will own the renewable energy credits associated with the systems.
“Cal State Long Beach will benefit from SunPower’s extensive experience working with universities and colleges to provide innovative solar solutions and significant value,” said Howard Wenger, SunPower president, business units. “With the SunPower Helix platform, our customers don’t have to choose between energy, reliability or aesthetics because every component of the system is designed to maximize all three. There is no other company in the world offering this level of integration and quality, and we are very proud about the difference it makes to our customers.”
SunPower estimates that one year of solar energy produced by the CSULB system, once it is operational, could power more than 2,200 electric vehicles for 30 years. According to estimates provided by the Solar Energy Industries Association, the annual power production of the system will be equivalent to the power required by 1,200 average California homes.
CSULB has three operating solar power systems on campus today, but this new SunPower project will be the largest solar power system on campus and within the 23 campus CSU system to date.
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.