Efficient with solar panels

Have you ever wondered how Pierce College, with it’s 426 acres of land, powers its buildings and infrastructure?

Well, in large part, you can thank the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, but the campus does it’s part with the help of solar panels.

Director of Facilities Paul Nieman said Pierce College produces 2 megawatts of power. Now, with technology advancing everyday, power can be drawn from natural sources.

“Everything takes power now, when it didn’t use to. I know there was a discussion when the campus launched into this saying this will save us. I hope this will just keep up with excess demand that we have,” Nieman said.

According to Go Solar California, the first known use of renewable solar energy dates back to the 1830s. French physicist Edmond Becquerel discovered that certain materials produced small amounts of electric current when exposed to light. Since then, technology has advanced to provide clean, renewable energy.  

Go Solar California is a campaign that encourages the state to pursue environmentally friendly alternatives to meet power and resource needs. California has 4,732,000 homes powered by solar panels, and produces the most solar energy than any other state in the country, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

However, Nieman said he’s not sure how much money Pierce saves yearly by employing solar panels.

“It’s a long term investment. I wish we could quantify how well we were saving but, it’s really difficult. If things stay constant between now and next summer, we may be able to get a solid comparison of what happened last summer,” Nieman said.

Nieman said the existing panels will be renovated and more will be incorporated to save energy on campus.

“A Vista switch was put in; a requirement from the DWP that the Pierce College bond absorbed with a million-dollar price tag. If we want to exceed 2 megawatts, we need another Vista switch,” Nieman said.

Vice President of Administrative Services Rolf Schleicher said there are additional benefits to having panels over the parking lots.

“It’s a desert out here. It gives us a lot of shading for people in their cars, which makes it much more comfortable,” Schleicher said.

Deshay Thompson, a child development major, said it would benefit Pierce College to go solar.

“I am on board. I also heard they are trying to make California use completely renewable energy by 2025. That’s so close. It’s really exciting.”