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Soaking up the sun

PRESIDENT'S HOUSE GOES GREEN

University House, the on-campus home of President and Mrs. Ochoa, has gone solar.

The 21 roof-mounted photovoltaic cells were installed recently by Western Sun Systems and produce 6.9 kilowatts of power. That’s enough electricity to meet about 80 percent of the total power need for the house.

“The commitment to living in an environmentally sensitive way goes back to my personal experience growing up in Oregon,” Holly Ochoa said. “As a result of the national energy crisis in the early 1970s, my parents installed a solar water heating system, so I knew firsthand that it worked well.”

Solar panels capture natural energy from the sun and convert it to electricity, which serves as a clean alternative energy source. “Ideally, someday every home will come with solar systems, whether hot water, photovoltaic, or both,” President Ochoa said. “The sun is shining even on cloudy days, so to me, it’s an obvious way to consume less fossil fuels.” It’s the second solar project at CSUMB. In 2010, a 6.4-acre solar array – consisting of approximately 3,900 panels – was constructed on the

University House
Mrs. Ochoa points out the 21 photovoltaic cells recently installed at University House

southeast edge of campus. Last year, it provided 16 percent of the university’s power needs. And it’s not the only solar project at an East Campus residence. Professor Dan Fernandez just installed a solar system on his house. “The solar panels seem to be a great way for me to minimize my monthly energy bill and reduce my impact on the environment,” he said.

Learn about sustainability at CSUMB.

Reporting by Jacob Barnett

Published Dec. 14, 2015

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