MONTEREY, CALIF. – January 26th – On Wednesday, an official ribbon cutting ceremony for Cal Poly’s first solar farm celebrated the successful completion of a high profile and very meaningful solar project. The new solar farm is the first energy-related project since the university announced their goal of climate neutrality.
The 18.5-acre 4.5 MW AC solar site containing more than 16,000 solar panels is located on the western side of the CalPoly campus in San Luis Obispo, California. Set to generate more than 11 million kWh each year (enough to power over 1,000 homes), the solar farm will produce up to 25% of the university’s total electricity needs while creating nearly $17 million in savings.
CalPoly partnered with REC Solar, a San Luis Obispo-based company founded by two CalPoly alumni, and RPCS to design, construct, and install the site. The site is being financed by Duke Energy via a power purchase agreement that will allow CalPoly to purchase energy at a lower rate without paying upfront for the cost of the system’s construction and maintenance.
The solar farm uses ground-mounted single-axis tracking technology from RPCS partner Array Technologies. This innovative technology, specifically Array Technologies’ DuraTrack HZ v3 system, increases energy production of the solar modules by 20 to 25 percent over fixed-tilt systems. RPCS is the trusted DG partner for Array Technologies’ solar tracker systems and provides leading U.S. solar companies with turnkey services in the ground mount utility-scale solar sector.
The solar farm will also provide an added opportunity for students to study and conduct experiments in a hands-on environment. The site will incorporate a newly created solar engineering and microgrid laboratory to maximize academic applications for students and faculty.
“CalPoly is an important project for a lot of reasons and RPCS is proud to have contributed to its success. It was a pleasure making sure the trackers and installation were perfect and that everything from boundaries, topo, environmental, and schedule challenges were handled beautifully. All of us who worked on this project will remember it and be proud to visit for decades to come,” said Alex Smith, RPCS’s Chief Sales Officer. “Congrats to REC, Duke, and CalPoly’s leadership and students!”
The CalPoly campus is located on California’s Central Coast and in an environmentally sensitive and restricted area, neighboring the area’s iconic Bishop’s Peak. The geological realities for a ground mount project in this location included significant sloping and undulations as well as challenging soils which required sophisticated foundation designs and installation methods.
In addition, the campus neighbors an equestrian center, where subjecting the resident horses to noise was a concern. The team was also under strict regulations to ensure that construction did not interfere with important artifacts from nearby Native American cultural sites. RPCS adjusted its schedule and planned on behalf of REC and Duke to ensure that the installation timing, methods, and durations would be considerate and effective in reducing construction noise and disturbance.
The university is known for its sprawling, breathtaking grounds, so ensuring that it would remain pristine before, during, and after construction was a special goal that RPCS was able to achieve.
About RP Construction Services, Inc.: RPCS designs and builds ground mount solar projects using the industry’s gold standard for quality, the Array Technologies DuraTrack® HZ v3 Single-Axis Tracker. With over 300 MW and over 180 projects completed or under construction throughout the United States, RPCS provides full turnkey service and support for the industry’s most bankable and reliable tracker. RPCS’s expert knowledge of Array Technologies’ trackers ensures world class turnkey project assistance including site layout optimization, ancillary engineering services, tracker and foundation procurement, and complete mechanical installation. The team at RPCS provides reliable support at every step of the project, delivering a level of quality and efficiency that parallels ATI’s market reputation. For more information about RPCS, please visit rpcs.com or call us at 831.620.2188.
About Array Technologies, Inc.: Array Technologies, Inc. is the leading solar tracking solutions and services provider for utility-scale projects. With efficient installation and terrain flexibility coupled with high reliability, durability, and performance, Array delivers the best project returns in the industry. As the chosen tracker for more than 16 GW years of energy production, Array’s products have been optimized through unparalleled experience garnered over nearly three decades. Array Technologies is headquartered in the United States with offices in Europe, Central and South America, the Middle East, and Australia. For more information, please visit arraytechinc.com.
Official PR from REC Solar: https://recsolar.com/press/cal-poly-dedicates-new-solar-farm/