FRESNO, Calif. –
Local community colleges are saying goodbye to trees and hello to solar panels. It’s something almost every school in Clovis Unified School District as well as Fresno State have incorporated. Now, State Center Community College District’s five community campuses are following suit. By the end of the year they will have solar panel car ports and shade structures.
Christine Miktarian with SCCC District says they are a huge benefit.
“They will have shaded parking, LED lights underneath the car ports, charging stations, and electric vehicle charging stations,” she said.
She said it will ultimately save the district $18 million dollars throughout their 20-year solar panel lease.
“We will be saving our cost in energy, reducing our reliance on un-renewable energy, and be more sustainable,” said Miktarian.
To do so, the district will loose 280 trees across all campuses. Eighty eight trees from Fresno City College alone. Lee Ayres with Tree Fresno said there’s nothing that can replace green life.
“We will miss the shade benefits, the calming benefits, and the calming of the trees that a cold panel just doesn’t replace,” he said.
However, he said solar panels are a move in the right direction.
“I do think with the energy reduction from those solar panels there will be a big gain but we do lament the removal of trees whenever it happens,” said Ayres.
Fresno City College students agree. Losing trees is not ideal.
“We need the trees they help us have clean air not only outside campus but on campus,” Fresno City College Freshman Isenia Jinenez.
However, shaded parking is.
“It’s better for the people to have shade and stay cool,” said Fresno City College Freshman Noah Parsos.
Tree Fresno said they, along with Cal Fire, will be replanting 400 trees across State Center Community College District’s campuses as a trade off for the new solar panels.