SRJC completes solar panel project


Abraham Fuentes

Santa Rosa Junior College President Frank Chong addresses a crowd of students and faculty at the SunPower solar panel ribbon cutting on Nov. 6 in Bech parking lot.

Mark Fernquest, Staff writer

School officials spotlighted Santa Rosa Junior College’s role as a community leader in sustainability when they recognized the completion of its 1.8 megawatts solar array project on Nov. 6.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place under the newly-installed solar panels in the Bech parking lot and included faculty, staff, student leaders and contract partners.

According to the SRJC website, the solar arrays, built by SunPower in a scant three months last summer and filling both the Emeritus and Bech parking lots, are part of the District’s $32.5 million Measure H sustainability plan that also includes 1.3 megawatts of arrays on the Petaluma campus and .5 megawatts of arrays earmarked for the top of the SRJC parking structure.

The solar panels will provide approximately 27 percent of the Santa Rosa Campus’ annual electricity and save the school nearly $370,000 a year, said SRJC President Frank Chong.

“That’s really going to help us during these difficult fiscal times, not to be writing checks to PG&E. That’s money that’s going to go back in the classrooms,” Chong said.

Senior Dean of Students Robert Ethington said the arrays save 1,400 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, or 4 percent of the district’s annual carbon footprint, adding, “It’s a legacy moment we should all be proud of.”