University Advancement
News Release

Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler
(818) 677-2130

CSUN Launches its Second Solar Electric System,
Receives $2.1 million from the Gas Company, LADWP

(NORTHRIDGE, Calif., April 19, 2005) -- Southern California Gas Company (The Gas Company) and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) officials today presented Cal State Northridge with incentive checks totaling more than $2.1 million during a special ceremony to dedicate the university's second solar electric system.

The more than 2,800 165-watt solar panels built on the southwest side of the campus, combined with more than 3000 75-watt panels on CSUN's north side, are expected to save the university more than $140,000 annually in energy costs while at the same time contributing to a cleaner environment. Together, the installations constitute one of the largest solar electric systems at a public university in California.

The latest $3.5 million project was developed by the university's Physical Plant Management by working with The Gas Company and LADWP.

"Cal State Northridge is deeply committed to being a leader in its sustainability efforts and will continually seek new and innovative technologies to reduce its energy bills," said Mohammad Qayoumi, CSUN's vice president of administration and finance. "This project is a good example of our efforts to promote environmentally friendly technologies, support energy conservation and reduce energy costs.

"The project also provided a wonderful opportunity for us to work again collaboratively with The Gas Company and LADWP, as well as within the campus between academic and administrative divisions, to do something that benefits everyone," Qayoumi said.

Rick Morrow, vice president of customer services-major markets for The Gas Company, said the project at CSUN is "one of many we're involved with that promotes renewable energy and helps customers gain more control over the cost and reliability of their electricity."

"We strive to provide both innovative and sustainable solutions to our customers' energy needs," he said.

Lillian Kawasaki, LADWP assistant general manager for environmental affairs and economic development, said the CSUN's newest solar electric system "marks another step toward a cleaner environment in Los Angeles."

"We are proud to partner with CSUN and commend them for not only embracing solar technology, but including their students in the process. Students learn that solar power is not just a concept, but a reality that will help create a sustainable energy future," Kawasaki said.

The 2,832 solar modules are doubling as shading in faculty parking lot B2 on the southwest end of the campus near Nordhoff Street and Darby Avenue. Each module can generate up to 165 watts of power, producing a peak generating capacity of 467 kilowatts. Much of this power will be generated exactly when it is needed most, between 1 and 5 p.m. during summer months, thus saving the most energy dollars.

Photovoltaic cells in the panels absorb the sun's rays, creating direct current power that is directed to a substation where it is converted to AC (alternating current) power. It is then increased to 4,160 volts of energy and fed into a power grid that distributes electricity throughout the campus.

In addition to saving energy, the use of the photovoltaic cells is also easing the impact of older technology on the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, by using 467 kilowatts of photovoltaic capacity, one can reduce carbon emissions equal to the amount emitted by an average passenger car driving 1.5 million miles.

The latest solar project's installation, completed while students and faculty still used the lot for parking, was overseen by a team of CSUN engineering students who even redesigned some of the installation equipment to make the process more user friendly.

Cal State Northridge is considered a leader in energy conservation among universities across the country. Only four years ago, the university was hailed by the Clean Air Coalition for its use of alternative energy.

In 2001, the campus installed six microturbines through a partnership with the South Coast Air Quality District and LADWP as a way to save energy and reduce its reliance on the state's fragile electrical grid.

The Gas Company is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 19.5 consumers through 5.5 million meters. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles in most of central and Southern California. The Gas Company strives to provide exceptional customer service to enhance the quality of life in the community. The Gas Company is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE). Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company. To learn more, go to

The LADWP's Solar Program is part of its environmental efforts and Green LA Programs that also include Energy Efficiency, Trees for a Green LA, Recycling and Renewable Energy Solutions. For more information on LADWP environmental programs, log on to or call 1-800-GreenLA. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the largest municipal utility in the nation, was established 100 years ago to provide a reliable and safe water and electric supply to the city's businesses and residents.

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