Solar energy is powering EVs and heating up water at Lane Community College in Eugene, Ore.

As part of campus-wide renewable energy project, a solar parking structure was finished recently on the west side of campus that covers 18 designated EV charging stations.

The second part of the project is using solar energy from rooftop panels to heat up water for campus showers and laundry services.

Furthermore, LCC has incorporated the solar structure into its curriculum by creating a learning lab for students, and hopes that the project will be a tool for the community to learn more about solar energy as well.

lcc-solar-evPark in shade while tapping power of sun
The solar parking structure produces approximately 40 kW of solar energy, and was proposed for a multitude of reasons.

The purpose of the solar structure is to:

  • Offset the electricity use on campus
  • Power 11 electrical vehicles annually (based on an estimate that the vehicles will travel 600 miles per month)
  • Provide covered parking

The college already has an existing fleet of EVs, but is in the process of acquiring more.

LCC also wants to build another solar parking structure on the east side of campus in the future, based on availability of funds.

Buildings + solar panels = hot water on campus
LCC placed a solar array on the rooftop of the Health and Wellness Center to power a multi-building solar thermal project.

The energy from the panels is used to heat up water that flows into the showers in the Health & Wellness building, the Health, Physical Education and Athletics building, as well as campus laundry services.

The hot water produced by the solar array will help to alleviate the use of natural gas for heating hot water on campus, which will also save LCC approximately $5,000 per year.

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Cost of project
When the solar project was still in blueprint form, LCC decided that it would use $830,000 of the college’s 2008 bond funds toward the solar project.



The solar EV charging station cost $800,000, which was paid by an EVEB Greenpower grant of $100,000, and $700,000 that came directly from LCC bond funds.

The multi-building solar thermal project cost $400,000, and was funded by the Building 30 Health and Wellness Center, as well as $130,000 from LCC bond funds.

Lane’s solar thermal project has also received a preliminary certification for a pass thru tax credit from the state department of energy.

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