Solar panels greet students

Solar panels installed in the Adams Avenue Parking Lot will help foot the college’s energy bill.

Students arriving on campus this semester certainly couldn’t help but notice the ongoing installation of Orange Coast College’s transformation into the 21st century.

Beginning last semester, the college started constructing solar panels in the Adams Avenue Parking Lot, that when completed later this month is expected to provide up to half of OCC’s electricity use, according to Dennis Reid, project manager for Coast Community College District’s Measure M Capital Projects.

The panels will cost $3.97 million and cover 242 of the nearly 2,100 parking spaces in the parking lot, Reid said.

Solar panels collect and store energy in two ways — in batteries to use for electricity overnight, or directly fed through an inverter that feeds it right back into the power grid.

Construction had originally been delayed but the panels are expected to be completed by the end of this month. Workers had been expected to stagger installation so only three rows of parking stalls are closed at a time.

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