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    LB's First Solar Powered Fire Station Now Operating in Belmont Shore, Initiative By Councilman Colonna, Solar Demo Project Courtesy Of BP

    Solar Fire Stn. Aug 27/05(August 28, 2005) -- LB's first solar powered Fire Station is now operating at 2d Street and Bayshore Ave.

    On the initiative of 3d district Councilman Frank Colonna, and with a free solar installation via a demonstration project by British Petroleum (BP manufactures solar panels), LB's early 20th century Fire Station 8 is now being run by the sun using 21st century technology.

    The green banner says "Thank you, British Petroleum."

    Councilman Colonna says he contacted the firm about a solar project about year and a half ago...and BP offered a $30,000 demonstration grant for photovoltaic panels and provided the installation. The rooftop set-up (photo below) can now produce electricity at the rate of 3 to 5 kilowatt hours...enough to power about a five bedroom home.

    Solar Fire Stn. Aug 27/05When we arrived about 11:00 a.m. for the August 27 event, Councilman Colonna mentioned that he'd glanced at the meter a few minutes earlier and it indicated the solar panels were producing roughly 3.8 we asked to see to see the meter so we could snap a shot of this.

    Solar Fire Stn. Aug 27/05
    By about 11:30 a.m., the solar panels were producing 4.7 kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity.

    By 11:35 a.m., the figure had risen to 4.86 kWh. These are all likely more than the facility was using (enough to send the old mechanical electric meter running backwards, although we had to head to the ribbon cutting before we could snap a shot of this).

    "Solar is very important for the next generation of our city," Councilman Colonna told us, and said he'd suggested BP do an installation at a public facility like the Fire Station where it could be showcased to young people and adults like.

    Matt Rezvani, BP's Director of Government Affairs (CA/AZ region) confirmed this and added "We've been here since 1920 from the ARCO days, and we've been very much involved in the community of Long Beach."

    We asked, "So what's in it for BP?" Mr. Rezvani replied, "You know, we are one of the largest producers of solar panels in the world"...and said BP is itself the largest user of solar energy in the world. He said BP provided the rooftop solar panels (and associated metering and electrical gear) free to the City of LB for the demonstration project.

    We wanted to see the solar panels. "There's only one way to do that," we were told.

    Solar Fire Stn. Aug 27/05Solar Fire Stn. Aug 27/05

    Solar Fire Stn. Aug 27/05OK. Are you in good health? Yes. Are you afraid of heights? No. Put this on. OK.

    From the nose of the aerial ladder, publisher Bill Pearl got the shot below. (Photogs from the PT and Beachcomber did likewise, each of us accompanied by a LB Firefighter in case we slipped; no one did).

    Solar Fire Stn. Aug 27/05

    The rooftop solar panels were silently, cleanly producing roughly 5 kWh of electrical power as we snapped this shot.

    We presume there's some taxpayer savings from the solar installation (in less electricity used)...and as people strolled by and learned about the solar set-up, they seemed visibly impressed that it really, really works.

    Solar Fire Stn. Aug 27/05Councilman Colonna presented a 3d Council District Certificate of Recognition to BP's Rezvani.

    Solar Fire Stn. Aug 27/05The event drew LB solar advocates who set up a sidewalk table. American Solar Energy Society member and LB resident Regina Taylor (left) teamed with Dina Predisik to show the benefits of solar power.

    "Long Beach [with its frequent sunshine] is a good candidate for being a sustainable city," Ms. Predisik said. Ms Taylor said Solar Energy Society will be sponsoring a tour of local solar powered homes and buildings on October 1.

    For roughly half a century, the now-solar equipped 1928-vintage building housed a working police station alongside the fire station. (PD moved its operations in the 1980s). A LB police museum is now in the former PD space next to the fire station, a reuse Councilman Colonna also supported.

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