Peralta Community College District has completed the construction of a 1.2MW solar energy project at Merritt College in collaboration with Chevron Energy Solutions (CES), a company that develops energy projects that increase energy efficiency and renewable power.

The project, which installs 1400 PV solar panels in Merritt’s the new parking lot carports and 4,600 PV panels on the campus grounds, is expected to generate1,470,000kWh of energy every year, enough to power 215 California homes.

The solar power project will supply Merritt’s 42% of annual energy demand and save the collage an estimated $16.8m in energy costs over 25 years, while reducing the district’s global-warming carbon emissions by 380 tons annually.

Since the panels will produce more power than the college will consume during the summer, PG&E will buy the excess electricity through its Net-Metering program, generating revenue for the district, which has secured $1.6m state monetary incentives for use of clean energy.

Peralta District president of board of trustees Dr William Riley said that Peralta is fully committed to sustainability and this investment in clean, renewable energy will reap tremendous dividends for the district and the environment.

"This money saved by the Peralta Colleges through this project helps us to put more into our classrooms, a benefit that is especially appreciated in these challenging financial times," Riley said.