Thursday, December 03, 2009

an accomplishment... sort of?

Many of you know that since my arrival to California, nearly 5 years ago, I've been pressing for our school to "go solar" - I mean, of 365 days a year we get maybe 3 with rain and/or clouds. It was (and still is) astounding to me that every building here is not equipped with rooftop photovoltaic cells. It's more astounding that it's not in the code for all NEW buildings being constructed.

Well, despite my constant suggestions (primarily being PV carport installation in the parking lots or on building roofs or both) at various campus-wide meetings, which tended to generate grumbles of annoyance from the administration, I kept on pushing. At one point I was told that I needed to cease all outside inquiries because I had somehow single-handedly pissed off PG&E (which is Pacific Gas & Electric) - an entire company - an entire company who provides rebates for PV installations. I never quite understood this, but under threat of ruining my green dream, I stopped.

Later I was asked to serve on the "Facilities Planning Subcommittee" and also the "Action 2012 Facilities Team" to head up the "green" division. I mostly asked what the hell the point was, since all my efforts had so far culminated to a loud SHUT UP NATALIE from above. But, I guess I also saw those committees as an invitation to keep on being the squeaky wheel. Last year I invited a student to work with me on a project proposal: car port style PV installation as a pool shade. We presented this, and solar security lighting, to the President. At that time, he stated that "a plan is being conceived for PV carports". I was all of excited, angry and confused.

Over the past 4 years I had been told the following: 1) solar carport over the parking lots is way too big of a project, think smaller (hence the pool shade), 2) PV installations are too expensive (hence the 3rd party purchase agreement I had proposed and also... oh, the PG&E rebates), and 3) in our community, which is driven by the oil & gas industry, there's no way a PV installation would be accepted (thus, I suggested Chevron or someone being the 3rd party purchaser so that they can appear to be "greener").

Now, in my 5th year here, we received the following announcement via e-mail yesterday:

Bakersfield College invites our neighbors to learn more about an exciting new project

Beginning in Summer 2010,

Bakersfield College will commence construction on a Photovoltaic (solar panel) field, to be located above the College’s northeast parking lot at Panorama Drive and Mt. Vernon Avenue

Please join us for a presentation, information and a question and answer period.

December 7, 2009

6:30 p.m.

Bakersfield College Fireside Room (Campus Center)

I have absolutely nothing to do with this (on paper). In fact, I am currently in stages of begging to be included in this project - to observe the installation, to be able to use this as an educational tool. This plan, this "new" plan, has been entirely conceived by District Administration...


Heather said...

That's pretty funny. Not bad for a 'shut up Natalie' result.
You know what? My instincts as a wife say let them just go with it, thinking it's their idea. You don't really need the credit, right, just the end result?

gnat said...

I agree completely :)

Clumsy Knitter said...

OMG that is both hilarious and head-splittingly frustrating at the same time. I guess the best you can do at this point is be happy they're finally making those changes, whether or not they're willing to credit you with them. :)

Missy said...

Nice work...
obviously they should credit you but at least it's happening!
It's about flippin' time Bakersfield!

Kilometres said...

Way to never stop squeaking about what is right Nat. Irrespective of whether you get the credit, you're pushing people in the right direction and that's all that matters.

I was thinking as I was reading this. Do you think this has anything to do with the fact that there is a new administration down there and the government is again providing backing for alternative energy sources? I wonder if there is now money available to support this initiative where there wasn't before?

Or could it be that it is a good idea now that the president said it is (and not some hippie from Canada :p )?