ASUC Photovoltaic Array

In 2002 UC Berkeley's Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) and Graduate Assembly approved the first of several budget appropriations for the installation of photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union building. Additional funding for the project was provided by the California Public Utilities Commission.

The 59 kilowatt system is the first photovoltaic installation on the UC Berkeley campus. The project was completed in the fall of 2003 with oversight by Thomas D. Cordi, Director of ASUC Auxiliary, which manages ASUC facilities. The system was procured from PowerLight, whose company headquarters are located in Berkeley.

The 5,000 square foot installation is capable of generating 59 kilowatts of electricity when operating at peak times, sunny summer days, when demand for electricity is greatest. The system's PV cells are integrated with R-19 insulated panels in a modular arrangement that allows for future expansion. The integrated panels are installed over the roof's existing waterproof membrane. ASUC has plans to expand the array in the future with an additional 60 tiles, according to a UC Berkeley media release. PowerLight estimates that the system will save $390,000 in electrical utility charges over its lifetime.

Additional Information

UC Media Release: MLK Student Union gets a charge from student-funded solar power system, Bonnie Azab Powell, 19 November 2003

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