L.A. Southwest College to begin 4MW solar project

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The Los Angeles Southwest College (LASC) campus working with the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) recently announced plans for a 4MW solar project to be designed and constructed at LASC by Chevron Energy Solutions. The new project is another step that LACCD is taking in an effort to make its colleges more carbon neutral through its Renewable Energy Plan. Earlier this year, LACCD revealed plans for a 1.2MW project at the East L.A. College campus, which is also to be completed in partnership with Chevron Energy Solutions. Once both projects are completed, they will be the largest urban solar generation facilities in the U.S.

“This project is another major push toward our ultimate goal to declare our energy independence and foster awareness of green concepts and technology in traditionally underserved areas,” said Dr. Marshall Drummond, Chancellor, Los Angeles Community College District. “We are energized by Southwest’s project, as it gives us an exciting chance to highlight the District’s commitment to building green and to developing a new pipeline of eco-conscious workers for the green workforce.”

LACCD spends around $12 million annually on energy with $1.8 million spent on LASC in 2007.  With the new solar project, LASC is looking to save the district $280,000 per year, while meeting all of the campus’s electric needs by producing more then 5 million kW hours of electricity. The PV project will have 2MW arrays mounted on five carport structures, 1MW integrated on building rooftops and 1MW on ground-mounted arrays with tracking systems, bringing LASC’s total solar power to 4MW. The school is asking for a $1.4 million financial incentive over a five-year period from the California Solar Initiative Program since the initiative program offers customers installing up to 1MW of solar panels a financial incentive based off of performance. This will be used to offset the cost of the system over the five-year period

LASC is also going to be using urban wind generation, by initially installing six 1kW units with more anticipated over time. In addition, a geothermal heat exchange system will use the natural constant ambient temperature of Earth to heat in the winter and cool in the summer.

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