The Foothill-De Anza Community College District recently received more than $1.1 million from PG&E for energy savings generated by the installation of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels in three parking lots at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills.
By the conclusion of the five-year program in fall 2016, the college district will have received a total rebate of more than $1.75 million. California utilities administer the Savings by Design Program, which encourages high-performance, nonresidential building design and construction.
According to PG&E, the Foothill College PV project achieves an energy savings of 4,019,452 kilowatts, which equates to 373.8 metric tons of carbon dioxide – the equivalent of one year of power for 188 homes, or removing 79 cars from the road.
According to Foothill College President Judy C. Miner, Foothill is committed to energy efficiency for three reasons: sustainability, a new energy curriculum that uses the campus as a living laboratory and cost savings.
The installation of Foothill’s PV panels was completed in 2011. A design-build project with Chevron Energy, the panels include multiple PV arrays that generate 1.4 million kilowatt-hours each year and reduce the college district’s energy costs. Located in three campus parking lots (1H, 2 and 3), the large panels double as shade structures.
Proceeds from Measure C, a $490.8 million bond approved in 2006 by voters residing in the Foothill-De Anza Community College District service area, funded the PV project.
The PV panels also play a role in Foothill’s College Science & Learning Institute, which promotes an instructional model based on educational research and best practices for the successful teaching and learning of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at all levels.
Foothill’s new 25-unit Sustainability & Energy Program features a five-unit course that introduces technical students and working professionals to the field of PV technology. Using the photovoltaic panels, students analyze the real-time energy intake and output data as an instructional exercise in applied STEM learning.
For more information, visit measurec.fhda.edu.