Carport rendering

Portion of a rendering on a carport.

California State University, Long Beach, is getting greener.

The school announced it will build a carport solar system in Lot 7 at the south side of campus and in Lot 14 in the northwest section of campus — expected to be completed by the end of 2017. Solar power from the system will be purchased by CSULB, offsetting about 15%, or about 7.65 million kilowatt hours (KWH), of the school’s electricity, according to CSULB executive director of news Michael Uhlenkamp. He said the campus uses about 51 million KWH per year.

“CSULB is proud to support California and the nation in our transition to clean and renewable energy sources to fight climate change and its negative effects on our students, staff and community by increasing our reliance on solar power,” David Salazar, associate vice president of physical planning and facilities management, said in a release.

SunPower, which works with residents, businesses, governments, utilities and schools, produces the 4.8 megawatt carport system. Besides power, the system provides 50 electric vehicle charging stations and shade. Uhlenkamp said the number of electric cars used is not tracked. Additionally, CSULB will own the renewable energy credits.

One year of energy from the system is estimated to power more than 2,200 electric vehicles for 30 years or 1,200 average California homes per year.

There are three solar power systems on campus already, but this project is the largest solar power system to be installed here or the CSU system so far. The project is CSULB’s newest effort to reduce electricity usage.

CSULB committed in December 2014 to reaching a goal of climate neutrality by 2030. To help attain that goal, the Sustainability Task Force, a group of faculty, staff and students, was put in place. The task force oversees a spectrum of activities to reduce environmental impact, including conserving water, energy efficiency, waste reduction, recycling and sustainable food.

For more information on CSULB’s sustainability, visit

Emily Thornton can be reached at

Emily is a staff writer covering higher education and other various topics for Gazette Newspapers. She has a background in weekly and daily newspapers and a bachelor’s in communication from La Sierra University.

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