Sunshine State uni basks in 75% green energy

The campuses and medical centres of a Sunshine State university is set to get 75% of its energy from solar power. The University of California, also known as Merced agreed […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The campuses and medical centres of a Sunshine State university is set to get 75% of its energy from solar power.

The University of California, also known as Merced agreed to make what is reported to be the largest solar energy purchase by any US higher education institution earlier this month.

It is buying 80 megawatts (MW) of electricity from two solar fields near Fresno, California.

Once it has built rooftop solar-energy systems on campus buildings and expanded its campus solar farm, UC Merced reckons it will be the only campus in the country to get 100% of its energy from renewable sources.

Image: UC Merced
Image: UC Merced

Graeme Mitchell, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Strategic Facilities Planning at the university says: “As a campus, we are constantly looking for ways to exceed expectations and sustainability standards.”

UC Merced used about 16.2 million kilowatt hours of energy in 2013, according to Mitchell.

With a growing campus he estimates this will rise to about 41 million kilowatt hours’ worth of power by 2020.

Mitchell adds: “We clearly cannot sit still and think we’re going to reach our Triple Zero pledges (to energy, landfill and greenhouse gas neutrality by 2020). We have to continue to be forward looking.”