In efforts to contribute to local energy efficiency, the college will soon be installing solar panels to the Redmond campus.
Oregon currently ranks third nationwide for energy efficiency according to the OR Department of Energy. Central Oregon Community Colleges hopes to join efforts to continue adding to statewide energy efficiency and is currently pursuing compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Initiative
“Our goal is for 5 percent of the schools total energy output come from a renewable source,” said COCC vice president of Administration Matt McCoy.
McCoy and Project Construction Engineer, Gene Zincraft, applied for and obtained energy conservation grants from a program called Blue Sky renewable energy project by Pacific Power.
“I think it will give the college the ability to use the solar array for educational purposes,” said McCoy.
Currently one percent of renewable energy in Oregon through Pacific Power is solar. Pacific Power is the second largest electrical provider in Oregon with 72 percent of renewable energy coming from wind farms.
The first plant will be built at the Redmond COCC campus to utilize the sun that Redmond has more consistently than the Bend campus.
“We are taking advantage of the Redmond campus location for generating solar power and Redmond being a technology focused campus makes it more appropriate,” said McCoy.
COCC does not currently offer certifications in Solar Panel Photovoltaic Array installation, though McCoy sees potential for that in the future.
“I see the school offering this training in the future, this is a minimum 20 year Project. The data from the construction can be used for data in the classroom,” said McCoy. COCC is still deciding on who will build the solar panels, however, when the project is completed the panels will create a 504 kilowatt system per hour.
“The college is seeking a qualified partner to build and operate a 504-kilowatt hour solar array as part of a power purchase agreement. The contractor would maintain the system for up to 20 years while selling power back to the college,” McCoy said.
The request for the proposal is still open and a third party for construction has yet to be identified, according to McCoy.
“Campus services will take over installation once the construction company has completed it,” said Director of Campus Services Joe Viola.
D.R Kaufman | The Broadside