Barstow Community College’s Solar Array to Save $5.2 Million
Borrego Solar Systems to build on-site array on unused five-acre area that will offset nearly 90 percent of campus’ power demand
Barstow Community College (BCC) District today announced it is partnering with Borrego Solar Systems Inc. to install a 885 kilowatt (kW) ground-mount tracker solar photovoltaic array on an unused five-acre lot next to the unpaved parking lot above the softball field. The $2.5 million installation is expected to deliver an estimated $5.2 million in energy savings over the life of the system.
The system will generate more than two million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually — enough electricity to provide approximately 90 percent of the campus’ current electricity demand. The site will be net-metered, meaning that any of the solar energy not consumed by the campus will be fed into the local electricity grid and credited back to BCC.
A ground breaking ceremony will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 4:30 p.m. inside the newly fenced area on campus. Construction is expected to be completed by early spring 2016. BCC District Superintendent/President, Dr. Deborah DiThomas is inviting local government officials, members of the Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce, and community residents to join the college’s Board of Trustees and administrators, staff, faculty, and students, to participate in this historic event.
Dr. DiThomas commented, “Bringing a solar project to the College has long been a goal of our Board of Trustees. This is a clean energy project that will pay for itself, and provide a return on investment that is important to the future stability and sustainability of this college. We are thrilled that it is good for the environment, and will help us to be more self-sufficient.”
BCC received approval from the Board of Trustees to pursue on-site solar generation during the 2013/2014 academic year after researching feasibility with the guidance of the Community College League of California. Adopting solar energy furthers BCC’s objective of reducing its carbon footprint and protects the institution against an increase and volatility of utility energy rates. The installation is expected to offset 1,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is the equivalent of taking 295 cars off the road or the amount of carbon sequestered by 1,150 acres of U.S. forests in year.
“At first glance BCC’s solar project fits a trend happening all over California, but the school is actually unique in that it paid for the system outright with General Funds,” said Fnan Araia, Borrego Solar project developer. “The school is going to net an estimated $2.7 million in savings over 25 years because of this project, which will positively impact the community they serve. The school should be applauded for their commitment to carving out funds for this important project and the foresight to turn to solar for the clear long-term economic benefits it delivers.”
About Barstow Community College
Barstow Community College (BCC) is an open-access, comprehensive two-year institution serving a diverse student population in the Mojave region of San Bernardino County, California. The College’s campus is located in the City of Barstow, California, situated in California’s high desert, between Los Angeles, California and Las Vegas, Nevada.
Established in 1959, the BCC District encompasses a vast service area, stretching from the Nevada border on the East to Kern County on the West, and from Inyo County in the North to the San Bernardino Mountain range in the South. The College serves the communities of Barstow, Lenwood, Newberry Springs, Daggett, Yermo, Hinkley, Ludlow and Baker. The institution also maintains a satellite learning center at the U.S. Army National Training Center in Ft. Irwin, California, which serves military personnel and their families. For more information about the college, visit www.barstow.edu