News

School district wants input on solar panels

As the School District moves forward to go solar at the schools, it wants to make sure that installed panels are done in an aesthetic fashion.

If the San Ramon Valley Unified School District Board of Education approves the sale of Qualified School Construction Bonds, the district will use the funds for adding fixed-tilt shade structures and/or tracking-shade structures with solar panels at some or all the school parking lots listed above, according to a notice sent home to parents. The parking lot structures would provide shade for cars and support the solar panel arrays.

"The Board of Education and district staff have been working diligently on a possible $25 million solar initiative that would establish 'solar carports' over several school parking lots," explained Superintendent Steve Enoch in his December newsletter. "These structures would consist of either fixed solar panels on the roofs of the carports, or panels that move as they track the sun."

The district wants public input on adding solar panel shade structures in the parking lots at some or all of the following schools:

California High School

Dougherty Valley High School

Monte Vista High School

San Ramon Valley High School

Diablo Vista Middle School

Gale Ranch Middle School

Iron Horse Middle School

Quail Run Elementary.

The project would also include new security systems for the parking lots and appropriate lighting.

The district has received examples of installations and renderings of the solar panel shade structures from four possible vendors. These renderings and photographs can be found online at www.srvusd.net.

"Feel free share to share your thoughts on this matter with us and/or attend the Dec. 15 Board of Education meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in the Education Center where the Board will continue its discussion of this proposal," said Enoch.

Input concerning the planning of this project may be submitted in writing to Ms. Margaret Brown, Facilities Development, 2430 Camino Ramon Suite 240, San Ramon CA 94583 or via email to: mebrown@srvusd.net. Submit written input by Dec. 8.

— Dolores Fox Ciardelli

Comments

Posted by F. Olivas, a resident of Alamo
on Dec 3, 2009 at 7:56 am

Good Day Mrs. Brown,

I was a high school teacher for 37 years.

I saw many a district project voted on but the biggest problem is that once the "new" concept/installation was born with funding monies, the eventually problem became, how to fix it down the road with little to no cash in the till because start up funds didnt cover that eventuality.

So hopefully rather then rush into "newness" for the sake of some polished buttons on someone's career profile, someone will stand for NOT ONLY start up funds but also funds which will repair the solar panels which as have been reported many many times, they do not last for ever and need fixing, repair, and replacement.

Added to a school problem with down the road repairs are the local or wandering vandals who have no better fun then to break, foul up, or attempt to destroy school property.

So, strong standings for repair costs should be included in the new plans.

Funding from the General Fund are not sufficient because someone along the line will see that money and say; hey lets not let money just sit, lets use it. And the Solar Panel repair money is assumed into someone's favorite funds leaving repairs for the panels in limbo and eventually no to little maintenance takes place.

Hopefully, none of this will happen and the Panels will become part of the school environment for the sake of environment.

Respectfully,

Fernando Olivas
Retired High School Teacher of 37 Years


Posted by Bainter the Painter, a resident of Alamo
on Dec 3, 2009 at 4:40 pm

I think the panels should be painted green. But no one cares what the painter thinks. That's ok.


Posted by Voltaire, a resident of Danville
on Dec 4, 2009 at 9:18 am

Please publish the ROI analysis on the proposed solar investment. I don't care what they look like if the return on investment is based on "Feel Good' environmentalism. No ROI, no funding.


Posted by Barb K, a resident of Blackhawk
on Dec 4, 2009 at 10:07 am

This sounds like a fantastic idea to me. The initial information we received from the School District did have the return on investment, but I don't have that handy anymore. Hopefully the Weekly can share that with us. I seem to recall they were saying the solar panels could provide for around 30% of the school's energy needs and they would pay for themselves over their lifespan. Plus they would provide shade for the cars parked in the lot, which would save gasoline that is burned at a high rate when the AC is blasted to cool a car from 110 degrees down to a comfortable level. We are lucky to have such an abundance of sunshine around here, we ought to harness it.


Posted by Ron, a resident of Danville
on Dec 4, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Whats wrong with mounting them on the roof of existing buildings? That would be cheaper than going thru and building shade areas for people to park. Plant a couple of trees in those areas. What is the life span of this system? Mine is 20 plus years and will be paid for in 7 years and covers 90% of my electric bill. I have a fixed panel system. Picture an apartment complex with covered parking and thats what it will look like. Ugly. Keep it simple, will be cheaper and better. This school dist. has better things to spend money on and wait a few years as the panels are still being improved and cost will go down.


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