October 21, 2010

Perpetual Energy Systems Activates 1.1 MW Solar Energy System at California Institute of Technology

Perpetual Energy Systems (Perpetual) today announced the activation of a 1.1 MW solar energy system at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The system, which marks the achievement of the University’s goal of 1.3MW of solar power installed by 2010, is projected to generate an estimated 1,646,668 kilowatt hours of clean energy in its first full year of operation.

More than 4,500 solar panels comprise the system, which will generate electricity from the rooftops of seven structures on the Caltech Campus - Braun Athletic Center, Baxter Hall, the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC), Cahill Center, the Annenberg Center for Information Science and Technology (IST) and the North & South Wilson parking structures. The Cahill Center will host 26.88 kW and is Caltech’s first building to achieve USGBC LEED gold-level certification. IPAC is NASA’s multi-mission center of expertise for long-wavelength astrophysics as well as the institutional home of the Spitzer Science Center (SSC) and the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI)

The 1.1 MW system will eliminate approximately 1,150 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in its first year of operations, which is equivalent to planting 252 acres of trees or removing 222 cars from the nation’s roads for one year.

“Caltech is making great strides toward “greening” its entire campus and Perpetual is honored to have helped it reach its solar energy production goals for 2010 through this installation,” said Joseph Rodriguez, president and CEO of Perpetual. “This project was unique as it included two parking structures on which we used a “space frame” design as the mounting system for the solar arrays and panels on the rooftops of several very notable Caltech buildings.”

Caltech entered into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Perpetual to host the solar installations, enabling Caltech to host solar with no capital outlay. Under the PPA, Caltech will purchase clean solar energy produced by each installation at a predetermined, fixed rate. The system is owned and operated by Perpetual, and operations and maintenance of the system are the responsibility of Perpetual.

“This recent installation, which brings Caltech’s total installed solar capacity to 1,300 kW representing two percent of the Institute’s energy consumption, contributes significantly to our plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020,” said John Onderdonk, Caltech’s Sustainability Manager. “Our agreement with Perpetual allows the Institute all the advantages of solar, but without the financial outlay for the installation and maintenance. This is a win-win situation for us and we look forward to working with them again on future solar installations.”

Caltech will hold its official celebration of the installation on Wednesday, October 27 at 9:00 am PT on the top deck of the South Wilson Parking Structure.

Source : Press Release

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