Solar Powering Cal

Project Lead: Kira Stoll

Sponsor: Office of Sustainability

TGIF Grant: $60,000

Project Theme: Energy Conservation & Efficiency

Project Location

2013 Application Submission

Status: In Progress

Project Description: Solar Powering Cal will ensure student engagement in the campus efforts to install solar on selected campus buildings and will make TGIF a key partner in solar as a new reality at UC Berkeley. TGIF will also play a role in the larger regional effort to bring over 100 solar PV installations to public agency sites around the Bay Area.

Goals: The campus is currently reviewing 5 main-campus and 3 off-campus sites for solar panelling and the initial assessments are completed. These 8 sites combined have the potential to reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions by 402 tons per year. With this grant, the hope is to provide funding for the financial gap that exists to ensure the development of Solar Purchasing Power Agreements on a maximum number of the proposed sites. This grant will help move the campus and the region forward in clean energy developments.

Project Implementation Plan

Task                       Time Frame
Evaluate solar project sites Complete
Move all the projects (with the exception of EBB) to the RFP process to receive competitive bids September 2013
Make vendors/bids available Spring 2015
Student Engagement and Outreach Spring 2015
Project Installations TBD

2013-2014 Accomplishments

  • The solar project sites were evaluated by technical consultants from the regional procurement effort.
  • The campus projects are in a public RFP that was released in September 2013.
    • Bids from qualified vendors will be due at the end of December, with plans for vendor pricing to be available in spring 2014. 
    • Upon submission of bid pricing, UC Berkeley will select its projects and contractors. 
  • The project sites could be utilized by classes in Energy and Resource Group.
  • Upon timeline confirmation of project installations, project leader will implement student engagement plan.

In fall of 2013, UC Berkeley joined a public agency collaboration - the Regional Renewal Energy Procurement Program (R-REP) - to reduce the costs and management of solar installations in a power purchase arrangement (PPA) or direct purchase model. The R-REP is modeled after an earlier program in the South Bay in which participants saved 75% - 90% in upfront administrative costs, and the volume/competitive pricing yielded 10% -14% in cost reductions.
Alameda County General Services Agency (GSA) is serving as the lead agency on behalf of the public agencies in the R-REP. The R-REP has included 19 public agencies from Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, and qualified vendors were offered options to bid on upwards of 150 sites arranged in numerous bundles.
UC Berkeley included seven campus sites in the joint Bay Area public agency procurement process for solar photovoltaic installations.  After a lengthy bid review process over the spring, the solar vendor Sun Edison was the successful vendor for the two project bundles that included UC Berkeley’s sites.
The campus is currently working on finalizing contracts with the vendor for four sites; installations are anticipated in summer 2015.
Based on the current timeline for installations – student engagement in the project can begin later in the spring semester 2015.
This process is allowing the campus to explore in-depth the opportunities and restrictions we have as an organization to start including on-site solar PV to our energy mix.  The Office continues to talk with STeam Energy and other interested students about involvement in the project.

2015 Accomplishments:


Mission Statement

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provides funding for projects that reduce UC Berkeley's negative impact on the environment and make UC Berkeley more sustainable. TGIF will allocate funds to projects that promote sustainable modes of transportation, increase energy and water efficiency, restore habitat, promote environmental and food justice, and reduce the amount of waste created by UC Berkeley. Portions of the fund also support education and behavior change initiatives, student aid (via return to aid), and internships. TGIF is supported by student fees and administered through a student-majority committee and a program coordinator.