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SDSU Students Set Solar as a Top Priority

(SAN DIEGO, CA) The students of San Diego State University (SDSU) have been a leading force for the California State University (CSU) green movement. On Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. the Associated Students (AS) of San Diego State University and Sullivan Solar Power will be hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the recent 124-kilowatt solar photovoltaic installation completed at the Aztec Aquaplex, the students’ most energy intensive facility.

The student government at SDSU has proven to be one of the most environmentally progressive student collegiate bodies in the nation with the development of its’ Green Love Sustainability Advisory Board, one of America’s first student government boards dedicated to strengthening environmental efforts on campus. The Green Love Board and AS Council allocated funds to the solar project from a self-imposed student fee increase passed in the spring 2008, which secured funds for sustainable upgrades to Associated Students’ facilities.

“Associated Students has revolutionized the way that students look at their environment, their campus, and their own lives. Sustainability - in all senses of the word - has become a standard at San Diego State University, and it rooted from the motivations of a small group of students,” said Tyler Boden, AS President. “As a result, our AS facilities are becoming more energy efficient, our campus is committed to recycling, low-emissions transportation, and our students are being educated about what it means to ‘go green.’”

The event will include opening remarks from Boden, followed by presentations from San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, State Senator Christine Kehoe, City Council Members Marti Emerald and Kevin Faulconer, Daniel Sullivan, owner of Sullivan Solar Power, SDSU President Stephen Weber and AS Green Commissioner Grant Mack. Student leaders Boden and Mack will receive a $286,116 rebate check from Andrew McAllister, Director of Programs at the California Center for Sustainable Energy, the administrator of the California Solar Initiative in the San Diego region.

“The ribbon-cutting ceremony marks the end of a 3-stage process to complete the PV solar array for the Aquaplex, but it also serves as a placeholder for a huge accomplishment in sustainability, which will motivate future progress in sustainability at SDSU,” said AS President Tyler Boden. SDSU’s Aquaplex solar array will generate enough solar power to reduce the emission of 299,940 pounds of CO2 from the atmosphere each year and will generate roughly 241,887
kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. The solar system which consists of three separate ground mounted arrays, each with 280 photovoltaic panels, will save the AS more than $35,000 a year in electricity costs, according to Mack.

“Associated Students chose solar not only because of its visibility but because San Diego is the one of the sunniest regions in the world and we have the opportunity to generate exceptional levels of clean renewable energy,” said Mack.

The large solar installation was a project two years in-the-making and was installed by the locally owned and operated solar firm, Sullivan Solar Power. The Aquaplex’s three separate ground-mounted arrays are uniquely placed on a south facing hillside adjacent to the facility. The three-phased project used a total of 840 American-made Sharp solar panels and 18 SMA electrical inverters.

“The students of SDSU have realized the profound educational opportunities associated with incorporating solar renewable technologies on campus,” said Daniel Sullivan, founder and President of Sullivan Solar Power, “and they must be commended for their commitment to creating a sustainable future.”

The project also incorporated the work of Solar Park USA, who installed environmentally friendly earth screw mounting fixtures and racking. The earth screws were individually hand installed directly into the ground and did not require excavation or concrete foundations. When the project broke ground, it was one of the first installations in the country to use the earth screw technology, which is now widely used.

Said Mack, “This project exemplifies the fact that when committed students really drive themselves to a worthwhile cause they are able to better the world of tomorrow. Change and the most important causes in life are never easy; it takes dedication, motivation, collaboration and passion to make a positive impact for tomorrow and that is what this project truly represents.”