At Oxy, solar power combines science, engineering, and art. It’s the liberal arts approach to green energy.
Oxy’s $6.8-million, 1-megawatt ground-mounted solar array is one of the largest of its kind in Los Angeles. It generates approximately 11 percent 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 being 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. In partnership with panel manufacturer SunPower, Oxy is offering a discount on home solar installations to neighbors in the surrounding communities of Eagle Rock, Highland Park, and Mt. Washington.