Butte College: off the grid

Community college will be entirely solar-powered

Butte College expects to become the first college in the nation whose solar-power generation will exceed its energy use.

The community college’s Board of Trustees recently approved a plan to install an additional 15,000 solar panels on its campuses. The $17 million Phase III solar project will add to the college’s existing 10,000 solar panels.

New solar panels will be installed on rooftops, the ground and over parking spaces and walkways. Project construction is already under way at the college’s Chico campus and will culminate at its main campus in Oroville by May.

When the project is completed, the school will be the largest solar-producing college in the world, according to a Butte College press release.

“Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do,” Butte College President Diana Van Der Ploeg said in a statement. “Being the first grid positive community college in the country demonstrates our commitment to the sustainable practices we’re modeling for our students and our communities.”