Pierce College Council approves plan to build three photovoltaic arrays on campus

Travis Vail/ Roundup

The Pierce College Council approved a plan yesterday to install three new photovoltaic energy arrays throughout campus during their regular meeting Thursday.

Photovoltaic arrays use solar energy to produce electricity.

The plan, though still subject to authorization from the campus president, Kathleen Burke-Kelly, would place new arrays in Parking Lot 1 and Lot 8, as well as in the horticulture area.

The photovoltaic arrays are identical in design with those that already exist in Parking Lot 6, and combined the arrays will more than double the campus’ solar energy production.

“What we’re doing now is buying energy off of the grid, which has no investment,” said Ken Takeda, who is co-chair of the PCC Budget Committee. “By implementing this plan, we would be “leasing-to-own” equipment.”

Ruben Rojas, a representative from the Build-LACCD Program Management Team, explained that Pierce plans for a 6-year lease of the new equipment, after which the Los Angeles Community College District will assume ownership of the lease.

“We decided to do this so that we would capitalize on both state and district subsidies that are available,” said Rojas.

The total cost of the project is roughly $8.7 million, which is part of a $6 billion bond that Pierce proposed for in November, but various subsidies can decrease that total.

Rojas pointed out that if the school meets its 5% expenditure deadline by the end of the year, then 30% of the total project cost will be subsidized by the district.

Takeda went on to describe the necessary steps toward implementing the new energy plans.

“Well, it’s a plan, so it isn’t set in stone yet,” said Takeda. “There are still four contracts that need to be established before the school can begin work.”

The required contracts include a company to construct the equipment, operations and maintenance company, ground lease, and a lease with Citigroup, which currently owns the required equipment.

Pierce will begin construction of the new arrays during the fall semester to qualify for the expenditure subsidy.


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