Solar Panels are doing their jobs


Alisia Sanchez

The solar panels over the parking area at BC continue to provide 1.1kHz of power annually

Brooke Howard, Reporter

Four years since Bakersfield College installed the solar panels, BC officials confirm it provides the 1.1 kilohertz annually, as it was estimated it would. Amber Chiang, head of marketing and public relations stated, “That is one third of the college’s energy use.”

In 2010, SunPower Corporation installed the 1.1-megawatt solar power system above a 3.1-acre parking lot canopy.

According to Chiang, the cost of installing these solar panels was $8.3 million with the funds coming from bond, incentive and tax breaks.

These panels don’t just benefit the college and the community, but the environment as well by displacing more than 52 million pounds of carbon dioxide over the next 30 years. That is equal to removing over 4,000 cars from California’s highways.

Students were also happy with the Solar Panels carport-style installation that gives shade for cars below.

When approached, BC Student Jessica Ming said, “I try to park under the solar panels whenever possible! After spending all day in class, it’s nice to come back to a car that isn’t burning hot.”

According to Chiang, the college currently does not have plans to install more panels. “That was grant and incentive funded, but there is a lot more energy related projects in the works,” she said.

More projects initiated to make BC energy efficient and environmentally friendly include water and gas lines, new toilets, new sprinklers, LED lighting and much more.

Sonya Christian, president of BC, stated, “We are systematically working on energy conservation mechanisms as well as water conservation.”

In spring of 2014, BC installed low flow toilets, which cuts our water use by millions of gallons per year. Future projects include sprinkler head replacements, which is scheduled for winter 2014 and will cut water use for landscaping by 30 percent.

We are also practicing “campus browning,” which involves watering in only essential amounts to keep the trees and shrubs healthy, but letting the grass die. This practice not only saves Bakersfield the precious water it needs, but the school $15,000 on landscaping per month.

“BC is committed to sustainability, which is one of our core values,” said Christian.

The Bakersfield College Core Value of Sustainability reads, “We recognize our responsibility for continuing and maintaining this institution, which has been shaped by over 100 years of resolute and tenacious labor and judicious foresight, so we unceasingly place our energies into imagining how we might sustain and renew our fiscal, human, and environmental resources into the future.”