California State University, Bakersfield, is the latest campus in the state to use a parking structure to generate power. Officials fired up a 1.2 megawatt system Wednesday.
The $9.5 million system will produce enough electricity to power more than 3,100 houses, or about 30% of the college's annual needs, according to this story in The Bakersfield Californian. The solar-system is affixed to a parking canopy.
Increasingly, universities and other entities are having parking structures do double-duty as power generators. Fresno State partnered with Chevron Energy in 2007 to build covered parking with a solar roof to generate about 20% of its annual power supply.
California colleges, in particular, are embracing solar energy. Butte College in Northern California and West Hills Community College District in the San Joaquin Valley near Coalinga are among the first in the state to use renewable sources to cover all their power needs.
As this blog states, it makes sense for campuses to use renewable power in this era of cost cutting and tight budgets. If they are spending less money for energy, they have more left for textbooks, professors and can keep fees down.