By Mary O’KEEFE
Glendale Unified School District official kicked off its solar project at Crescenta Valley High School on Monday afternoon.
With the flip of a switch, Marco Galang, a junior at CVHS, moved his school into a new solar future.
Galang said solar power was an important green step for the school.
“Our [Earth] is so fragile,” he said. “If we can get [energy] from the sun we should use it.”
The power will be generated from about 1,000 panels that have been placed in the teacher’s parking lot at the west side of the front entrance and the lower parking lot on Ramsdell Avenue.
The ceremony on Monday was symbolic. The solar power for all schools in the Crescenta Valley area will actually begin to generate about mid-October with the exception of Rosemont Middle School. The company that is in charge of the project, Solar City, has found the rocks at that school to be a little more difficult to maneuver than originally thought.
The main construction at CVHS has been completed.
“We are very excited about covered parking, we save some much needed dollars for our operations and are doing a good thing for the planet,” said Christine Walters, GUSD school board president.
The panels will generate an estimated $97,000 in savings for CVHS per year. District officials estimate that all seven solar school locations will save about $360,000 in system-wide energy costs.
“There is an additional $182,000 a year in incentives from [Southern California Edison],” said Alan Reising, the district’s director of Facility and Support Operations.
That brings the total savings to about $543,000 for the district. The panels have a 30-year lifespan which, after the costs of maintenance is factored, estimates savings for those years at $10 million.
In addition to the savings and lessening the district’s carbon footprint is the educational value.
Teacher Christina Engen and her sixth period Earth Space Science class were at the kick-off event. Principal Michele Doll introduced Engen as a teacher who has taken a solar lead in the education of her students.
“She has invited the Solar [Schoolhouse], an outside company, to come in and teach her students how to build a solar lunchbox,” Doll said.
Engen said the solar panels would reduce the school’s carbon dioxide emissions by “30-to-40% over the lifespan instead of using fossil fuels.”
“Hundreds of AP (Advance Placement) level students will be able to learn about carbon footprints, fossil fuels and alternative energies,” she said.
Students will continue to monitor the solar project in all areas from power to the savings. It will help in the continuation of the school’s Earth science studies.
“In 2011 we had our first Solar Discovery Fair that was held at one of our local elementary schools,” she said. “Gandhi said, ‘We must be the change we want to see in the world.’ I think these panels are putting us in that direction.”