SMC held a dedication ceremony Oct. 29 for its newly completed solar and energy efficiency project that is expected to save the college more than $14 million over the life of the project.
The project includes a 408-kilowatt solar system, which provides electricity through solar panels located on the top level of two parking structures that is generating power for two garages and a significant portion of the Business Building.
Chevron Energy Solutions designed, engineered, installed and operates the solar system and maintains and guarantees the system’s performance. SMC has also improved its energy efficiency through a campus-wide lighting retrofit, variable speed drives, new heating hot water boilers, fire alarm system and emergency circuit upgrades that were also implemented by Chevron Energy Solutions.
Through the energy efficiency improvements and use of solar, Santa Monica College is reducing its purchase of utility power, which is expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 1,500 metric tons, equivalent to preserving 13 acres of forest from deforestation each year. The project is paid for exclusively by energy savings on utility bills.
The $3.6 million project generates approximately 50,660 kilowatt hours each month and is saving the college about $8,100 a month.
The solar panel structures – which also provide shade for parked cars – are located on the top level of Parking Structures 3 and 4 at Pico Boulevard and 17th Street.
“We are committed to academic excellence, global responsibility and educational, environmental and economical awareness,” SMC President Dr. Chui L. Tsang said. “Our collaboration with Chevron Energy Solutions allows us to reduce the amount of energy used and lessen our college’s carbon footprint.