Solar Panel Project Approved for Main Campus

Publish Date: 
Jul 14, 2015

SALINAS, Calif. – The Hartnell Community College District Governing Board approved an agreement with an energy services company to install solar panels on the Main Campus at 411 Central Avenue, Salinas, CA 93901.

The Trustees took action at their development meeting on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 and approved an agreement with Opterra Energy Services, Inc. to install a solar energy system on the Main Campus in Salinas to offset approximately 25% of the its energy requirements. The Trustees also required that the solar panels used for the project must be American made.

"These energy efficiency projects are part of the District's efforts to utilize resources effectively, to be more energy efficient and sustainable, and to reduce the District's carbon footprint as good stewards of the environment,” said Superintendent/President, Dr. Willard Lewallen.

Opterra Energy Services, Inc. (then Chevron Energy) installed the solar energy system at the Alisal Campus in 2013 - it will save the District over $6 million in energy costs over 25 years. The 543 KW solar PV is a parking canopy that provides 93% of campus energy use at the Alisal Campus.  “Utility companies supply over 70% of electricity in the U.S. by burning fossil fuels,” added Dr. Lewallen.  “Generating electric power causes over a third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States (source: Environmental Protection Agency); reducing the electricity drawn from the grid means reducing carbon emissions."   

The District applied for and was awarded a $3 million interest free loan from the California Energy Commission to construct the system.  The $3 million loan will be paid off over 20 years with payments of $150,000 per year. The net savings to the District will be approximately $3.6 million over 25 years. Combined with the Alisal project the District will realize approximately $9.8 million in energy savings. These savings will allow the District to use these resources for other purposes, particularly in serving the success needs of students.

Hartnell Community College District

The Hartnell CCD serves over 15,000 students annually through its main campus in Salinas, the Alisal Campus in East Salinas, the King City Education Center, and various outreach learning centers throughout the Salinas Valley. Hartnell College, a Hispanic Serving Institution, provides workforce training, basic skills courses, and prepares students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Hartnell College is recognized for its innovative public and private partnerships that support world class STEM education, career technical education, fine and performing arts, humanities, and athletics. We are growing leaders through opportunity, engagement, and achievement. For more about Hartnell CCD, visit www.hartnell.edu.  ###