University of California, Riverside Gets Clean Energy Face Lift

The University of California at Riverside is getting a clean energy face lift thanks to a $2 million grant.

Under the two-year project, the school is getting solar arrays, advanced battery storage, vehicle charging stations, an electric trolley, and a grid management system that charges vehicles with solar energy. 

2 megawatts (MW) of solar and 2 megawatt hours of lithium battery storage systems are being installed at three locations on and near campus. Solar energy will charge vehicles on campus and throughout Riverside.

The University’s Center for Environmental Research and Technology at Bourns College of Engineering, which does research on clean technologies, won the award.

In partnership with the City of Riverside and Riverside Public Utilities, UC Riverside engineers will design methods to direct the solar energy to electric vehicle charging so that it minimizes loads on the grid and demands for fossil fuel electricity.

UC Riverside also plans to convert a trolley from diesel to electric power to shuttle students and area residents around campus.

Balqon, a manufacturer of heavy duty electric vehicles, will assist in converting the trolley and installing the battery storage, charging and distribution system. A similar 1.1 MW system will provide power to one of the campus buildings.

The project is one of eight funded by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, for a total of $12 million in  Southern California.

One of those projects is a huge, 2 MW solar PV carport that will  charge electric cars and deliver energy to the grid in City of Industry, California.

Riverside has an ambitious Green Action Plan, aimed at solidifying the city as a leader in green practices. Its 18 point plan includes:

  • Renewable energy supplies at least 50% of energy by 2020; with 20 MW of solar
  • Reduce water use 20% and increase recycled water use 30% by 2020

  • Reduce waste 75% by 2020

  • Decrease vehicle miles traveled 15% by 2015

  • Increased availability of locally grown food through  farmer’s markets, particularly in under-served areas

  • Increase the size of the city’s urban forest

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