By Timithie NORMAN
Four local schools will have new solar panels installed this summer, resulting in an energy cost savings of over $360,000 in the first year and up to $8 million over 30 years.
Crescenta Valley High School, Clark Magnet High School, Rosemont Middle School, Mountain Avenue Elementary and Monte Vista Elementary will all have shade structures with photovoltaic solar arrays constructed, with installation already underway at Mountain Avenue. These campuses, plus Keppel Elementary and Columbus Elementary in Glendale, were chosen due to eligibility for rebates from Southern California Edison and the campus size, which determined the potential return on investment.
“We dropped Cloud Preschool because it didn’t make economic sense on such a small site,” said Alan Reising, the GUSD director of Facility and Support Operations. “We added Clark to that mix because when we analyzed the return on investment, Clark is a larger user of power so it made economic sense to invest.”
Approved by the Glendale Unified School District Board of Education on May 3, the solar projects are estimated to be finished by November of this year, with the majority of construction completed by the time students return to campuses this fall.
“You will notice solar structures,” said Reising of what students can expect come fall. “Though power won’t begin to be generated until September or October.”
The project involves two phases; the first is the construction and installation of the solar array on campus. The photovoltaic solar arrays use a method of generating electricity by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity using semiconductors of various materials. Similar arrays are used at public and private organizations throughout the country.
The second phase will require underground conduits and trenching to connect the arrays to the local power source to allow the campuses to use the power generated by the panels.
The projects, which are estimated to cost just over $7 million, are being funded by renewable energy bonds and Measure S, a voter-approved bond proposition passed in April 2011 that authorized Glendale Unified School District to borrow up to $270 million in general bond obligations to upgrade classrooms, facilities, technology and energy efficiency across the district.
“Our board is adamant about leveraging bond dollars to support student achievement,” Reising said. “The solar project literally takes money that we would lose to energy and makes it available to support teachers and students in the classroom.”