California Boasts the Most Self-Sustaining Universities in the Country

The need to find alternative, sustainable sources of energy has permeated every industry including higher education. It’s no surprise buildings that house the finest academic minds in the world have switched to commercial solar power. Of the schools going solar, some of the most impressive are in California. In fact, the Golden State is the country’s leader in green colleges and universities.

University of California

For a big school approach and solar power at the same time, UC has 10 campuses throughout California, some now running with photovoltaic panels. The school administration has set a goal to have full carbon-neutrality by the year 2020. The school currently has a 102-kilowatt installation topping the graduate management school at their UC Davis campus, to produce 144,000 kWh of electricity in each year. They are also researching ways to make solar power more efficient. Solar power is not the only game in town for US. The Berkeley campus hosts the first organic kitchen at the university level.

Stanford University

Stanford ranks number three in the country for eco-conscious schools with multiple photovoltaic arrays. The school has one department dedicated strictly to environmentally sound energy management. One specific venture spearheaded by this facility includes a 30-kilowatt installation that is the campuses largest ongoing project. The system houses 200 photovoltaic panels that generate 51,000 kWh of electricity each year.

Like UC, Stanford is dedicating itself to improving the technology behind solar power, as well as other forms of renewable energy.

Community Colleges

One smaller school to garner attention on the sustainable energy front is West Hill College in Central Valley. The school has an ambitious project to cover 39 acres with a solar power farm. The goal is to provide enough energy for all three of their campuses.

The solar power project is part of the “Farm of the Future” initiative located near the Coalinga campus. The farm at West Hill will be ‘grid-positive.’ This means it will produce more energy than the school needs. The excess will be sold to a local power company for commercial solar power usage in the area.

West Hill is the second of California’s state community colleges to go grid-positive. Butte College in Oroville is working on a project that will add to the large solar arrays they already have in place. After the additions are complete, Butte will be the largest solar-powered producing college in the world.

Solar power is just one in a number of sustainable energy alternatives that has the potential to reduce the country dependence on fossil fuels. By turning to clean energy, schools like the University of California and West Hill College are doing their part to create an eco-friendly world.

Stephen Craig is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. Follow him @SCraigSEO.

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