Tehachapi has its wind farm and soon Bakersfield College will have its solar field.
For the past year, Bakersfield College has worked hard to go green. First installing a water powered air conditioning system, then energy saving light fixtures, now the biggest installation they're working on is a large solar panel field.
"Solar panels are wave of the future. We have a lot of sun in this area and the solar panels are a great way to harness the energy and reduce our energy costs," said BC spokesperson Amber Chiang.
Starting in June, solar panels will cover the parking lot at the corner of Panorama and Mount Vernon. The panels will generate 2.1 million kilowatt hours annually, equal to powering 293 single family homes. And what the school doesn't use will go into California's energy grid to power the community. The solar panels will be constructed as carport-style parking, absorbing energy uptop while offering shade to cars below.
"Covered parking is good too because when summer comes around, it's going to be hot and it would be nice to go to a shaded car that's not all hot," said student Ashley Lostaunau.
The panels won't just benefit the college and community, but environment as well by displacing more than 52 million pounds of carbon dioxide over the next 30 years, equal to removing 4,300 cars from California's highways. The solar field will cost $8.3 million, which will come out of the college's utilities budget. But the college says it will end up saving a lot more green by going green.
"There's going to be energy rebates through PG&E, power savings and ability to sell excess power back into the grid, so overall it ends up paying for itself," said Chiang.
Solar panel construction is expected to start this summer and be up and running by fall.
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