With a new President of Occidental College joining the school later this year, an Oxy alum as the new President of the United States, and a new Occidental Sustainability Committee in place, what better way to build upon this energy than installing a solar energy project at the college?
Three years ago the student government here passed a motion developed by the environmental stewards class calling for solar at Oxy:
We, the ASOC, resolve to help launch the Occidental College Climate Change and Renewable Energy Initiative.
We resolve to request the Administration to place solar panels on an appropriate location on campus, such as the roof of a major building or a parking lot.
Two of the students in this semester’s environmental problem solving class recently presented about some new technologies being developed in the solar power sector that could bring the costs down. Even with current tech, solar can be a good investment, although there is a trade off because waiting could lead to cheaper, more powerful arrays.
Once installed solar panels have a life span of about 20 to 25 years and have a short payback period estimated at about 4-5 years. Thus, if Occidental were to invest heavily in solar panels now they could have paid for themselves in energy savings by 2014, not to mention the pat on the back the administration would receive for going green. – Ben Burnett
I think it would be much wiser to wait for this technology to become available than to just set up a standard solar array here at Oxy, at least on a large scale. When CPV system is ready, we can get help funding a project to purchase and implement it here through the California Solar Initiative Program. The CSIP is designed to provide incentives for both home and institutional installations of solar systems in the state. The initiative has over a billion dollar budget, most of which goes directly to provide rebates to those who purchase technologies to harness solar energy. Los Angeles Southwest Community College recently announced the development of a massive 4 megawatt solar system at their campus and have asked the CSIP for $1.4 million to help offset the cost of construction. Raymond Buhr
Installing mid-sized arrays now as a pilot project would seem like a good first step. Facilities has identified two promising spots on parking lots near the admissions building and Keck theater. (See yellow marks on map). Professors Sowden-Ifft and Hightower from the physics department are very interested in solar projects. And Programs through the department of water & power could allow the college to install panels without needing to fund the costs up front.