Lacie Lowry, News On 6

TULSA COUNTY -- A Tulsa community center is turning to the sun for its energy needs. Chandler Park in West Tulsa is using a big federal grant to install more than 250 solar panels and the cost savings is a shining bonus.

The Chandler Park Community Center will soon generate its own electricity, thanks to solar power.

"We are so excited we got federal grant money, INCOG helped us do that," Karen Keith, a Tulsa County Commissioner, said.

That grant was worth $265,000 and is paying for 252 solar panels that will go on the upper and lower roofs of the community center.

"It's going to cut our bills significantly," Keith said. "We'll save $15,000 to $17,000 a year and it's about half of the energy needs of this building.

The center will still need to buy 50 percent of its electricity. Commissioner Keith says solar energy is widely tested now, so they know it's going to work.

"If you look at this building, it's absolutely ideal. There's nothing creating any shade over these solar panels. So it's going to really work well here," she said.

Especially during the summer months, when the sun beats down and air conditioners work overtime just to keep up.

"Anytime you can cut your costs and make your building more sustainable, you're moving in the right direction," Keith said.

A local company is installing the panels and says this will be the largest solar collector in the state. Each panel generates about 230 watts of energy.

"The total energy consumption when we finish with this particular grid that we are working on will generate almost 54,000 watts of energy into the building," Amos Adetula, with Amos Electric, said.

The county hopes this project is the first of many to come.

"We are looking forward to seeing more federal grant dollars come in so we can do this same application elsewhere," Keith said.

The solar panel installation should take a couple of days.

Commissioner Keith says several of the county's community centers are structured the same way as Chandler Park, so they're hoping to outfit those buildings with solar panels if they can get more federal money.