Being green when I was in college meant recycling at most. But the students at Butte College in Oroville, California, will go a lot further, thanks to the Central Valley sunshine.
The college now hosts 25,000 photovoltaic panels on its campus, which includes a 928-acre wildlife refuge. Those solar panels will produce 6.5-million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. That's enough to power more than 9,000 US homes—and it’s more than enough power for the college, even though it operates its own water system and sewage treatment facility.
In effect, the college will be making more electricity from the sun than it needs and can send clean electricity back into California's grid. They call it being grid-positive. I'd call it a positive development in higher education.
That's because the arrays will also allow Butte students to get real world training for the green jobs of tomorrow, much like the semiannual Solar Decathlon, which pits students from schools around the country against each other to design and build solar-powered houses. Oh, these crazy college types, what will they try next—saving the world from climate change?
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]