Pacific's new solar power initiative a national model for sustainability

solar panel event

A celebration was held on April 22—Earth Day—to unveil the solar canopies.

With the completion of a major solar power initiative, University of the Pacific has become a national leader in university renewable energy.

The solar arrays will generate 30% of the energy needs for the Stockton Campus, making Pacific No. 1 among private universities in on-campus, renewable energy generation, according to Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System reports.

Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln with President Callahan and Grant Kirkpatrick

(L-R) Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln, Pacific President Christopher Callahan and Grant Kirkpatrick, Pacific alumnus and Stockton program manager.

Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln presented President Christopher Callahan with a certificate of recognition for Pacific's commitment to renewable energy.

Projects like this will "produce cleaner, healthier, and safer environments for our students and our residents," Lincoln said.

A student "flips the switch" for the solar panels

Arshita Sanhiparthi ceremoniously "flipped the switch" for the solar panels.

Arshita Sanhiparthi, Associated Students of the University of the Pacific sustainability chair, said sustainability initiatives such as the solar panels are incredibly important to students.

"As a university, it is integral to the continued health of the planet and our society that we continue to take big steps to save our planet, particularly in a region where climate issues are visible all around us," Sandhiparthi said. "By installing solar panels in every major parking lot on campus and providing access to electric vehicle charging stations, we're moving towards a clean and renewable future."

solar canopies

Pacific worked with Tesla to install the solar canopies over eight parking lots, which are comprised of more than 12,000 solar panels.

"Sustainability is a core foundation of our values and our principles," said President Christopher Callahan. "With this project we're preventing 5,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases each year. That's the equivalent of removing 1,000 cars from our roads and highways."

electric vehicle charging station

Eight electric vehicle charging stations, with a total of 16 plugs, are now available in parking lots across the Stockton Campus. 

"We also have the infrastructure underground built in so that if demand increases, we can add another station everywhere there is an existing one," said Jessica Bilecki, sustainability director.

Other sustainability initiatives at Pacific include being ranked in the top 10 for sustainable food and dining practices on college campuses, No. 2 in the nation for the percentage of campus-owned vehicles that are 100% electric and using 100% non-potable water to irrigate the Stockton Campus.