Saturday, April 20, 2013

Solar Array Dedication

Oxy’s $6.8-million, 1-megawatt ground-mounted solar array is one of the largest of its kind in Los Angeles.

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It will generate approximately 11% of the College's annual electrical usage and save an estimated $250,000 a year. We believe it’s one of the largest arrays in the country on a small college campus.

What makes it unique is that two-thirds of the array's 4,886 panels are installed on a southwest-facing campus hillside. With panels mounted just 2-3 feet above the ground, the low-profile array will hug the topography of the slope.

Art faculty collaborated with a local design firm to create a curving design based on a mathematical expression known as a hysteresis loop (produced when an alternating magnetic field is applied to ferromagnetic material).

"Our project represents a new paradigm for arrays as architectural objects that, like buildings, are expected to contribute aesthetically to their environment," says President Jonathan Veitch.

Led by physics professor Daniel Snowden-Ifft, who proposed the idea, the lengthy process of bringing the project to fruition combined a creative approach to design with extensive community outreach.