West Campus eyed for relocation for solar panels

Whitney Clark and Whitney Clark

City College is going greener, or is at least trying to.

The college is looking to create solar paneled carports to cover the surface parking lots on West Campus.

According to the Vice President of Business Services Joe Sullivan, the college has a $2.38 million budget for the project, with $1.25 million coming from state rebates and the rest from the district. Although the college is awaiting the final cost, the project would not be possible without the rebates and the college would end up losing money, said Sullivan.

“We would love to be green but we as a district have an obligation to the taxpayers to not waste their money,” he said.

With 200-kilowatts of solar capacity, the panels will create 10 percent of the college’s energy and reduce the college’s approximate $700,000 energy bill through renewable energy, said Sullivan. Assuming the rate of energy will escalate by 6 percent in the coming years, Sullivan said the college will make back the $1.13 million approximately 9 years after the project is completed.

Ultimately the carports will help reduce greenhouse gases by shading automobiles and reducing the need for air-conditioners, said Biology Professor Adam Green.

“It is a good long-term way of saving the campus,” Green said.

Nearly a year ago the Board of Trustees approved the installation of solar panels on the Sports Pavilion roof. However, because of new state building code laws effective the first of this year, the District of the State Architect determined that the roof of the Sports Pavilion would need renovations that according to Sullivan would “not even be financially feasible.”

Director of Facilities, Julie Hendricks, said that several locations on campus were considered, including the idea of building the carports to cover the East Campus parking lot.

“You always have to study the sun patterns and there’s a lot of trees and shade on that side,” Hendricks said.

It was eventually decided by the college that West Campus would be best because according to Hendricks it will be the “cleanest and most direct.”

According to Sullivan, the majority of the board approved the construction of the carport at last weeks Board of Trustees meeting. However, trustee Joan Livingston mentioned that the carports might create an “industrial look.”

“They are what they are, they are not scenic,” Livingston said. “I think we’ve got scenic views, that is a part of who we are as a green community.”

Green, however, remarked that this campus had beautiful views and that the parking lot will hardly affect anyone.

“As far as I’m concerned it is going to look like we have a commitment to the movement for sustainable energy,” Green said. “It’s a small part of a larger plan for sustainability.”

According to Sullivan, City College hopes to have the final budget approved within the next month and begin construction.

Map of where the solar panel carport are proposed to go

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