Arizona Western College is putting our most abundant resource to use by going solar. Today the college broke ground for the solar project expected to bring energy and money to the college. According to the Guinness Book of World records, Yuma is the perfect place to go solar, because it is the "Sunniest City on Earth", with 354 solar generating days per year.
"It's an outstanding opportunity to not only display solar for our present students but for students in the future," said Dr. Glenn Mayle, President of AWC.
Dr. Mayle says the five megawatt solar project will be a new source of income for the college. The project combines different trackers and inverters to allow the panels to continually track the movement of the sun.
"We're going to have what are called test beds where other companies come out and test their product," he explained.
The college will also introduce a new curriculum for Renewable Energy Degree Programs. The programs are expected to lead to thousands of clean tech jobs in the southwest; not to mention the added staff and students brought in for the program.
"It's an exciting opportunity not only for us but for all colleges...The way we have it set up, is that it is something that can be duplicated on other campuses we actually have a camera set up so they can actually go to the web and observe the construction day by day," Dr. Mayle went on.
He said he wants other colleges and companies to join the solar panel community to make their campuses more self sufficient.
"Obviously to build an income source at this point in time in our economy is very very important," he concluded.
They're expected to flip the switch on the energy saving project this October. The panels are expected to produce 10,500,000kilowatt per hour and save AWC $3.5M in the next ten years.