Mitsubishi Electric PV Modules Chosen for Landmark Solar Project at Butte College

Using solar energy, Butte College in Oroville, Calif., plans to be one of the first colleges in the U.S. to produce more energy than it consumes. While the college has been using solar energy for three years, the board of trustees approved its Phase III solar project which is expected to be completed by May 2011.
Butte College will install more than 14,000 Mitsubishi Electric solar modules capable of producing 3,481,920 kWh of clean energy per year. This 2.7 MW DC installation is an addition to the 10,000 solar panels the college already has, making the total system size 4.55 MW DC.

Once this solar project is completed, Butte College will provide enough clean renewable energy to cover all of our electricity needs and generate slightly more than we use---which will be a source of additional revenue for the college, said Diana Van Der Ploeg, president of Butte College.

The solar panels will be installed by a joint venture between Chico Electric and DPR Energy which designs and installs commercial and residential solar systems in California.

We have worked with Butte College for years and are proud to facilitate this cutting-edge project for such a forward-thinking institution, says Norm Nielsen, president of Chico Electric.

The modules will be installed on the ground and on rooftops that will create covered parking areas and walkways. Mitsubishi Electric modules were used for a previous installation at the college and were chosen again due to their high-reliability and use of 100% lead-free solder.

We congratulate Butte College for setting an example for its students, its community and other colleges in the nation by choosing solar energy as its energy source, says Gina Heng, general manager of Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA's Photovoltaic Division.

The total funding for the project is $17 million with $12.65 million of this amount funded by federal Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs). The remainder, up to $4.35 million, will be funded by the college from its annual budget allocated to purchasing electricity from the grid. The college will receive almost $1 million in rebates from Pacific Gas & Electric, the California Solar Initiative and benefits from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act/CREBs allocations. The CREBs for the project were arranged and funded by Bank of America as part of its 10-year, $20 billion business initiative to address climate change.

About Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA's Photovoltaic Division

Mitsubishi Electric is one of the world's largest manufacturers and providers of solar power technology. The company's eco-friendly photovoltaic systems are used throughout the world to bring clean, reliable energy to residences, business, power generation plants, schools, factories and areas without access to electricity, as well as other applications such highway and stadium lighting.

About Chico/ Electric DPR Energy Joint Venture

Chico Electric DPR Energy is a joint venture between Chico Electric and DPR Construction, Inc. with over 70 years of electrical and general contractor experience.

Chico Electric has been in business since 1960 and has grown to be a leading electrical contractor in California. In the 1990s, Chico Electric branched out into installing PV Solar systems and has made a name for itself as one of the top solar installers in California. Chico Electric designs and installs solar electric systems for commercial and residential customers, and offers a wide range of high quality electrical services through their construction department, agricultural services department, and quick services department.

DPR Construction, Inc. is a unique technical builder with a passion for results. Ranked among the top 50 general contractors in the country over the last 10 years, it is a national commercial general contractor and construction manager that specializes in technically challenging and sustainable projects for world-class customers.

About Butte College

Butte College, located in Oroville, California is a two-year academic institution, offering associate of arts or sciences degrees and general education units to transfer to a four-year college or university. The mission of Butte College is to create a student-centered, community-based learning environment which empowers students to become productive, literate and responsible members of a diverse society.
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