TUCSON, AZ -- The University of Arizona (UA) will begin adding solar photovoltaic panels and solar water heaters to rooftops of its student rec center, aquatics center, parking garage and two other university buildings beginning in May.

The solar units are expected to add 500 kilowatts of power that the school says it will use to heat its two large swimming pools.

APS Energy Services will own, operate and maintain the solar-generating equipment on campus and UA will purchase the energy produced, school officials said. The center's expansion also will give UA its first Silver LEED-certified building.

Installation is expected to begin in early summer and be completed before the winter holiday break. School officials said the project is the first step toward a larger solar program at UA.

By converting 500 kilowatts of power to solar-generated sources, UA expects to shrink its carbon footprint by approximately 2,209 metric tons of CO2, which is roughly equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 405 passenger vehicles.