Canyon Crest to get solar power system
Two schools in the San Dieguito Union School District, Canyon Crest Academy and La Costa Canyon high schools, are probable candidates for solar power systems.
The district is eligible for up to $25 million in Qualified School Construction Bond tax credits through federal stimulus funding given to the California Department of Education.
“We wanted to find sites where installing (solar panels) would be cost neutral,” said Stephen G. Ma, associate superintendent of business services. He said the projects would likely cost no more than $15 million and the district has 15 years to pay the money back.
Canyon Crest and La Costa were the best options because they have large parking lots and get a lot of sunlight, Ma said. The panels will likely be installed on new carports. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2010.
“We wanted to find school sites that created enough energy savings where we could use the savings to pay back the debt service,” he explained. He said the district did not want to touch the general fund.
In April, the board selected Chevron to assess the district’s nine school sites and had the California Center for Sustainable Energy do an additional assessment in October, narrowing the possibilities down to two.
The school board voted last week to contract with MuniBond Solar for project management and financial advice.
The district has been examining options for going solar for more than a year now. Ma said several solar providers responded to a request for proposal and Chevron was selected. He said the solar panels are expected to last for at least 25 years.
Ma said the carport structures would be made from concrete and steel, adding, “There is very little that can go wrong.”
“We’re excited about the application,” Ma said. “I think this is something that is clearly good for the school, good for the community and good for the planet.”
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