ENGIE North America x Hartnell Community College District



1.4k MT

Annual avoided CO2e



$26 M

Energy savings

In 2007, the Hartnell Community College District first turned to ENGIE North America to help transform energy performance and resiliency targets for its 17,000-student population. 

The partnership has resulted in significant progress over the last decade and most recently earned the school a mark of distinction: A 2020 Excellence in Energy and Sustainability Award from the California Community Colleges Board of Governors.

The achievement recognizes a multi-phase, multi-year solar generation and efficiency strategy designed and implemented by ENGIE North America.  That program, completed in 2020, is now projected to save Hartnell College more than $26 million over the project lifetime, reducing electricity use and related emissions by an estimated 4.7 million kilowatt hours.

Setting the foundation for a strong collaboration

Hartnell College initially approached ENGIE North America with the goal of reducing energy costs and addressing aging infrastructure while developing new opportunities to attract and retain students.  The school wanted to enrich the offerings available through its newly created Center for Sustainable Design and Construction by adding real-world learning opportunities tied to a campus-wide energy upgrade.  At the same time, leaders also wanted to explore new ways to improve efficiency of operations.

With deep experience in the resource-constrained environment of higher education, ENGIE North America developed a plan to leverage alternative funding mechanisms and payments from savings to get their infrastructure goals off the ground.  This ultimately led to four consecutive phases of work that resulted in a 93% reduction in annual electricity use, offsetting 1373 metric tons of CO2 equivalent annually.

As part of the strategy, ENGIE North America designed and installed a total of 2.5 megawatts of solar photovoltaic generating capacity as well as a battery storage system and upgraded lighting, HVAC, and energy management systems for further cost efficiency objectives.  ENGIE North America also formed an academic partnership with Hartnell College, providing career exploration, hands-on learning, community engagement, student-led STEM research and energy engineering internship opportunities.

Four Phases


Project phases



Reduction in electricity use

Lifetime Savings

4.7 GWh

Reduction over project lifetime

We are extremely proud of our recognition and affirmation from the California Community Colleges system. It’s a win-win-win because we are reducing our climate impact, being a careful steward of taxpayer dollars and providing a highly relevant learning opportunity for students.”
Erica Padilla-Chavez
Hartnell Governing Board President

About Hartnell Community College District

Hartnell College is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in California. Founded in 1920 as Salinas Junior College, the school was renamed Hartnell College in 1948. Hartnell has a highly diverse student body, of which 56 percent are in their families’ first generation to attend college. About 60 percent of the student population is Hispanic, earning a federal designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. The College serves the Salinas Valley, with an annual enrollment of 17,000 students.