Community College Going “Off Grid” with 1 MW Solar Project

Officials at East Los Angeles College (ELAC) announced the commencement of construction activity for its renewable energy project, a photovoltaic (PV) solar system designed to produce one megawatt (MW) of electricity. The $9 million project is programmed to harvest nearly enough energy to meet the college’s daytime electricity needs.

The ambitious renewable energy project at ELAC is the first milestone for the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) as it moves toward taking all nine of its colleges off the grid. Construction of the project is expected to be completed by year-end.

“This renewable energy project is another example that illustrates our District’s strong commitment to move expeditiously toward building climate neutral campuses that will positively impact the environment,” said Sylvia Scott-Hayes, president of the LACCD Board of Trustees. “Not only will our energy independent campuses save money for other educational resources, but they will also act as a living model to teach students how to lead sustainable, environmentally responsible lives.”

Currently, East Los Angeles College uses on average slightly more than one megawatt daily to meet its energy needs. Future renewable energy plans for ELAC to make it entirely energy independent include using excess electrical energy to convert water into oxygen and hydrogen, using the hydrogen to power fuel cells for evening electricity needs. The other eight Los Angeles Community Colleges will follow suit soon with similar projects for their respective energy plans.

The project will be “Design-Built” by Chevron Energy Solutions under a 20-year Power Solar Service Agreement with the LACCD. This project is funded by the LACCD’s Propositions A/AA Bond Program, which Los Angeles voters approved in 2001 and 2003.

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