Long Beach Solar Airport Program

In 2008, Long Beach Airport installed six “solar trees” This “solar forest” will offset approximately half a million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. Each tree is made up of a steel pole with a photovoltaic (PV) array 9X9 feet in dimension which will shift every hour to track the sun maximizing solar ray exposure. The panels are also bi-facial which means that they collect light from above as well as reflected light from below.

The new 295,485 square-foot parking structure on the campus of Long Beach City College which will provide more than 900 spaces for students, will be powered by over 2,100 photovoltaic solar panels, which will provide an estimated 451kW of electricity. The $27 million project was built with bond money approved by the voters in 2008. The structure’s lighting and elevator systems are 100-percent solar powered, along with a few adjacent buildings. Located on the southwest corner of Carson Street and Clark Avenue, the five-story structure, with the solar panels on the fifth level is the second largest solar powered system in the city, after the Convention Center. The garage provides drivers with updated counts on the number of spaces vacant at each level.

Long Beach is fast becoming one of the leading solar cities in the United States. Early in 2015 the city of Long Beach announced plans to develop 4 solar power plants. Under this plan, the city hopes to save more than $60,000 in the first year alone. It will save 3,249 tons of carbon dioxide a year, the equivalent of taking 621 cars off the road.

The newly installed solar panels at Cabrillo High is expected to save the Long Beach Unified School District $2 million over the next 25 years. The 2,500 solar panel, 805-kikowatt system at Cabrillo High, located in the Santa Fe Corridor, isn’t the only Long Beach school with solar panels. Both Millikan High and the new McBride High have solar panels, but Cabrillo is the largest system.

It is estimated that the panels on top of the carports will prevent the emission of approximately 28 million pounds of carbon dioxide annually over the 25-year period. The Long Beach Unified School District is a leader in energy efficiency. All the schools have earned Energy Star Certification from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. The district may install solar panels at Lakewood High and expand the system at Millikan.

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