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Tuesday, September 28, 2010.

AVC solar power project to begin construction

Construction is slated to begin next week on a solar system that is expected to provide for more than half of Antelope Valley College’s annual electricity consumption.

The project, which will have solar photovoltaic panels atop 10-foot-high parking structures, will be constructed in parking lots on the east side of the Lancaster campus, temporarily displacing about 400 parking spaces used by students and employees.

The $7.6 million project is due to be completed by Feb. 5, 2011, in time for the start of spring semester classes at the community college, according to Doug Jensen, director of facilities planning and campus development.

When finished, the project will generate one megawatt of power, enough to provide about 70 percent of the college’s energy. Once classrooms and labs now under construction come on line within two years, the solar panel parking project will provide roughly 55 percent of AVC’s electricity needs, according to Jensen.

Parking lots 10 and 11, located midway between Avenue K and Avenue J-8 next to 30th Street West, will be closed beginning Thursday night, Sept. 30.

Campus visitors are encouraged to utilize parking near Avenue J-8 and adjacent to Brent Carder Marauder Stadium.

There’s really no good time to conduct such a project given the year-round nature of the college’s education program, according to Jensen. However, officials are hoping to take advantage of the winter holidays and intersession in January, when fewer cars will be on campus.

The project is being constructed and financed through Chevron Energy Systems, which has built numerous other solar panel parking structures for clients.

Once the solar project is tied into the campus electricity grid in early 2011, it will result in an immediate positive cash flow to the college’s budget, Jensen said. Chevron officials claim the project will pay for itself through lower utility costs.