Officials of Pierce College in Woodland Hills and the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) officially launched its green power program by flipping the switch on a new solar electric parking system and microturbines that will reduce the school’s outsourced energy use by half. According to Pierce College, the new system is the largest community college solar-powered structure in the nation.Los Angeles, California – December 1, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] “Pierce College is proud to celebrate the first step in our efforts to transform our college into a more environmentally friendly, clean campus,” said Pierce College President Rocky Young. “Our environmental leadership will help preserve the beauty of our campus and the surrounding community, improve efficiency, reduce emissions and save taxpayer dollars.” Young dedicated the new on-site 191-kW solar generation system, designed and built by PowerLight Corporation. Covering 20,000 square feet, the solar array generates enough power during the daytime to power 200 homes. The solar electric system is a carport structure that enables Pierce College to generate its own clean power, while also providing shade and overhead protection from the elements for student vehicles. In addition, micro turbines convert gas into electricity to produce cold water that will air condition the college. Combined with grants and rebates to reduce gas prices, the solar power system and micro turbines are expected to reduce Pierce College’s operating costs for power by 50 percent within 15 years. “By deploying on-site, clean, reliable solar generation, Pierce College will be able to effectively integrate solar electricity into its energy mix, thereby lowering operating costs, reducing purchases of expensive peak electricity and doing its part to alleviate pressures on California’s electrical grid,” said PowerLight President Dan Shugar. By avoiding the purchase of fossil fuel-generated electricity, Pierce College’s solar electric system spares the environment from thousands of tons of harmful emissions, such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide, which are major contributors to smog, acid rain and global warming. Over the 30-year operating life of the system, the solar generated electricity will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by over 1,800 tons. These emissions reductions are equivalent to planting 520 acres of trees, not driving 4.5 million miles or removing nearly 370 cars from the roadways of Los Angeles. Pierce College’s green power program is part of the college’s 10-year master plan to transform the college into a 21st century gateway to opportunity that will better serve students and the communities within the San Fernando Valley that surround the campus.