SunPower recently announced that a new campus neighborhood at University of California, Davis, called UC Davis West Village, is combining advanced energy efficient design features with a 4-megawatt (MW), high efficiency SunPower solar system. This project is the product of an innovative public-private partnership between UC Davis and West Village Community Partnership, LLC, a joint venture led by San Francisco-based Carmel Partners with their partner Urban Villages of Denver. Carmel Partners has developed ground-breaking solutions in the design of large-scale sustainable communities, utilizing both onsite renewable energy generation and aggressive energy efficiency measures. UC Davis already has one of California’s most environmentally conscious campuses, and West Village will be the largest planned Zero Net Energy development in the nation. We are very excited to help UC Davis and Carmel Partners carry their sustainability initiatives to the next level.
Since its founding in 1905, UC Davis has been celebrated for its focus on all things green. But that usually referred to things that grow in the ground, observed through the studies of agriculture, viticulture and enology (the science of wine and wine making). UC Davis now boasts an Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, with a charter is to make sustainability an integral part of the university’s future. And nowhere is the university’s commitment to planetary kindness more evident than on the construction site of the new UC Davis West Village. The 4MW SunPower system being installed there is expected to provide all of the electricity required by its 2,000 future residents.
The planning for West Village actually began a decade ago by UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center. SunPower joined the advisory board in 2006 to help shape and define the project goals. In 2010, SunPower began working with Carmel Partners, the developer selected by the university, to determine the solar requirements for the project and deliver the solar system design and engineering.
West Village is considered ‘high-density housing,’ which means all apartments are consolidated into 3- and 4-story buildings, resulting in a very constrained total roof space on which to install solar panels. So, in addition to installing solar panels on all the available roof space, the SunPower team installed 2MWs of solar on a number of solar carports in the Village parking areas. The high efficiency of SunPower solar panels enabled the developers to meet the system size requirement with fewer parking structures than would be required if conventional solar panels were used.
On the path to achieving “Zero Net Energy,” UC Davis West Village housing and commercial units also feature the following elements to help reduce energy demand and overall carbon footprint:
- The buildings have been designed to be 50% more energy efficient than is required by California’s rigorous energy code.
- West Village site design includes an extensive bike network and several new bus stops to encourage residents to leave their cars at home.
- Residents will have SunPower SMS 2.0 monitoring systems to track their energy generation and consumption.
- Residential and commercial dwellings feature special electrical outlets displaying the energy consumption of each connected device to combat “phantom power” use.
We hope that seeing SunPower technology as part of the landscape will also encourage residents and business owners to consider renewable energy sources in the future.
The first phase of the project, scheduled for completion this summer, includes more than 300 student apartments, a 15,000-sq.-ft. recreation and amenity facility, and commercial space for retail and university offices. The second and third phases, which will include more apartments, are scheduled for completion over the next two years. Upon its completion, UC Davis West Village will become a leading example for future residential developments.
On May 19th, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and representatives from companies and organizations partnering on the project toured the West Village site. Check out the tour and construction zone photos below.