Gavilan College invests in a combined solar and storage project

Louise Smyth

Gavilan College has selected SunPower to deploy a fully integrated solar and storage project at its campus in Gilroy, California. A SunPower Helix Carport system totalling about 1.4 megawatts will be installed across two of the college's largest parking lots, enhanced by a 250-kilowatt (500 kilowatt-hour) energy storage solution from Stem, Inc. to help deliver significant demand charge savings.

System construction is currently underway, with completion expected before the end of 2017. To help finance the project, Gavilan Joint Community College District secured U.S. Department of Treasury clean renewable energy bonds (CREBs) with a 1.05 percent interest rate after a federal tax credit, which allow public sector entities to fund renewable energy projects. The district will own the solar power system along with the associated renewable energy credits.

"Investing in cleaner energy while providing covered parking for our students with this solar carport system made complete sense for us," said Frederick E. Harris, Vice President of Administrative Services at Gavilan College. "Together with SunPower, we have designed a unique system that will offset approximately 75% of our electricity use on the Gilroy campus, include a storage system allowing us to avoid expensive utility demand charges, feature enhanced parking lot lighting, and incorporate up to 102 electric car charging stations in compliance with the California Green Building Code."

SunPower's complete carport solution features high-efficiency solar panels that maximise energy production, delivering 45% more electricity in the same amount of space over 25 years compared to conventional solar panels.  Stem, Inc. will provide an AI-driven energy storage solution to help maximise the value of the solar project.

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