Dedication ceremony held today for Dallas County Community College District’s first solar system
MESQUITE, Texas – September 2, 2009 — Eastfield College in Mesquite and Green Mountain Energy Company today unveiled the campus’ new solar array. It is the first photovoltaic (PV) solar system to power a school in the Dallas County Community College District. The solar system is ground mounted and will be used as a teaching tool for the college.
Texas-based Green Mountain donated the 4.4 kilowatt (kW) solar panel system to the two-year community college that primarily serves the eastern corridor of Dallas County -- Mesquite, Garland and East Dallas. The Green Mountain Energy® Solar at Eastfield College was installed on the campus grounds near the swimming pool. Eastfield College is located at 3737 Motley Drive, Mesquite, Texas.
Green Mountain’s “Super Earth” mascot; representatives from Green Mountain; Dr. Jean Conway, Eastfield interim President; Michael Washington, Eastfield Sustainability Coordinator; members of the Eastfield Sustainability Committee; and members of the community participated in today’s event to officially “flip the switch” of the solar array.
“Green Mountain Energy Company is proud to partner with Eastfield College to help educate students about solar power while promoting the overall benefits of renewable energy,” said Paul Markovich, senior vice president of Residential Services, Green Mountain Energy Company. “Green Mountain has been serving customers throughout Dallas, and the surrounding communities since 2002. Donating solar systems like this helps us give back to the communities where our customers and employees live, work and attend school, while supporting our mission to change the way power is made.”
The solar array is 380 square feet and contains 24 solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity producing over 8,500 kWh of clean energy annually. It is estimated that the array will save the college more than $100,000 in electricity costs over its 30-year lifetime. Additionally, the solar system will offset almost 11,500 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year. That’s as much as nearly 700 trees would absorb in one year or not driving over 12,500 miles annually.
Green Mountain funded Eastfield College’s new solar array through its Big Texas Sun Club®, a unique program in which Green Mountain’s Texas customers can choose to support solar energy installations in Texas by paying an additional $5 on their monthly Green Mountain Energy® electric bill (for information, visit www.bigtexassunclub.com).This is the 17th solar project built in Texas thanks to the Big Texas Sun Club. With this installation, Green Mountain’s Big Texas Sun Club will be responsible for creating more than 156 kW of new solar energy capacity in Texas since 2002.
“I would like to thank Green Mountain Energy Company for its wonderful gift to Eastfield College,” commented Dr. Conway. “This solar array attests to the company’s investment in higher education and a cleaner earth, and is a tangible example of Eastfield's commitment to educate the community in a sustainable venue.”
The solar array is being incorporated into the learning curriculum of several classes and will help educate students about the benefits of solar energy and the technical aspects of installing an array. A web site will also be linked to the array and display real-time energy output data. Classes at Eastfield College started on Aug. 24.
The solar panels were installed by Houston-based Standard Renewable Energy (SRE). This was SRE’s 7th solar array installation for Green Mountain and the Big Texas Sun Club.
Eastfield College Sustainable Projects and Plans
• Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) STARS pilot program participant
• Wind Turbine – Feasibility study underway
• Green Roof – Research phase
• Recycling – Project employed and ongoing
• Rainwater Harvest – Planning completed, pre-construction phase
• Native Prairie Restoration on campus – Planning and Research Phase
• Community Garden on campus – Future Project
• Urban Forest – Planning Stage
About Eastfield College
Eastfield College has been serving the eastern corridor of Dallas County. Eastfield College works to provide educational opportunities through high-quality instruction, services and programs in an environment conducive to student success in academic, technical, occupational, and continuing education. Eastfield is part of the Dallas County Community College District.
About Green Mountain Energy Company
Green Mountain, the nation’s leading provider of cleaner energy and carbon offset solutions, was founded in 1997 “to change the way power is made.” The company is the longest serving green power marketer in the U.S. Green Mountain offers consumers and businesses the choice of cleaner electricity products from renewable sources, such as wind and water, and carbon offset products. Green Mountain customers have collectively helped avoid over 4.9 million tons of CO2 emissions. For more information, visit GreenMountain.com.