University Of California Announces Record Solar Electricity Purchase

University of California has announced the largest ever purchase of solar power by an American institute of higher education after signing two Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with Frontier Renewables
 The University registered as an Electric Service Provider in the state of California in June as part of its 2025 carbon neutrality goal. The registration was a major step forward in UC President Janet Napolitano’s sustainability objective and was designed to allow UC access to more renewable energy resources to distribute to its subsidiaries and drive down the estimated $122 million UC currently spends on (predominantly gas-fired) power across its 10 campuses.
The 25-year direct-access agreement will see two utility-scale solar plants supply 206,000 megawatt-hours per year (MWh/year) of electricity to campuses and medical centres at UC Irvine, UC Merced, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, and UC Santa Cruz.
“As a national leader in sustainability, the University of California is taking on bold, new goals and transforming our approach to procuring and using energy in more sustainable ways,” said Napolitano. “Our partnership with Frontier Renewables will ensure that UC has a steady supply of cost-effective, climate-neutral electricity.”
The two solar facilities, Five Points Solar Park and the Giffen Solar Park, of 60 MW and 20 MW capacity, are slated to begin construction in 2015 and early 2016 and begin generating energy by the end of that year.
Frontier Renewables stated the plants could power the equivalent of 30,000 homes and avoid more than 88,000 metric tons of CO2 per year. The projects are projected to create 237 jobs during their construction and operational phases.
Frontier Renewables also agreed to an education partnership with UC researchers and students; creating solar field testing sites, internships and research positions within the company.
“Frontier Renewables is proud to partner with the University of California and provide clean renewable energy to its campuses and medical centers,” said Balduin Hesse, chief executive officer of Frontier Renewables. “We commend the university on this historic procurement of renewable power and hope other universities around the country will be inspired to move towards carbon neutrality.”