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SDSU Adds School’s Largest Solar Array

Aired 10/11/11 on KPBS News.

San Diego State University has added a new solar array on top of a campus parking structure. The Solar PV system is the largest on campus.

San Diego State University held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday for an array of solar panels that will eventually supply half the electrical needs for the new student union building under construction.

The Solar PV system is the largest on campus.

The system will provide energy to the new $103 million Aztec Student Union facility now under construction. Until the new building is completed in 2013, the panels atop a College Avenue parking structure will contribute to SDSU's general power grid.

Glen Brandenburg is the sustainability advisor for the Associated Students at SDSU.

He said the solar array was built now to take advantage of state incentives. The California Center for Sustainable Energy presented a rebate check to SDSU for $749,000 as part of the California Solar Initiative, to offset the $2.3-million cost of the project.

"Those incentives were decreasing and vanishing, so we needed to build the project sooner to take advantage of those incentives," Brandenburg said.

Brandenburg said the solar array also works as a shade structure for cars parked on the top level of the structure.

He said the new solar system will offset approximately 50 percent of the total energy use of the new Aztec Student Union, scheduled to open Fall 2013.

In the meantime he said, it will offset the total energy costs of the Associated Students campus facilities.

The school has also installed solar panels at the Mission Bay Aquatics Center, SDSU Children's Center and Aztec Aquaplex.

Brandenburg said when finished, the new Aztec Center building will seek the top certification - Platinum - for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED.

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