The college, which is located 75 miles from Sacramento on a 928-acre wildlife refuge, has installed a total of 25,000 solar panels. These are expected to generate more than 6.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually. As this is more energy than it consumes, it says that it will be able to save between $50 million and $75 million over the next 15 years.
These figures, says the college, account for the installation costs and include the fact that it will essentially be eliminating its electricity bill, in addition to earning money from the excess electricity generated, and avoiding electricity rate increases. "These savings can be used to improve student offerings and increase enrollment," it said in a statement.
California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott additionally commented: "I’ve asked community colleges to become more entrepreneurial and seek out new and innovative ways to generate revenue and to cut operating costs.
"Butte College dramatically accomplishes both of these goals by becoming grid positive. Furthermore, this college’s solar arrays will train workers for jobs in the green energy field an outcome that will help California’s economy and recovery."