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YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Solar panels going up at DHS parking lot

Members of Davis High School environmental groups try to get a shovel into the ground Thursday morning at the DHS parking lot, where solar panels will be installed this summer. From left are Sally Spinardi, Molle Aikawa and Audrey McNamara. Joining them are trustee Susan Lovenburg, Superintendent Winfred Roberson, trustees Sheila Allen and Richard Harris and Mayor Pro Tem Rochelle Swanson. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

By
From page A5 | May 18, 2012 |

As the parking lot shared by Davis High School and the Veterans’ Memorial Center stretched out before them, school and city leaders gathered Thursday morning to break ground on an array of solar panels that soon will generate energy and provide shade at the same time.

The carport-style solar panels, similar to a system already installed at Korematsu Elementary School, will be built this summer over the rows of parking spaces in the lot adjacent to the high school, 315 W. 14th St. Additional solar panels will be built over the bicycle parking area on the west side of the lot, and above the patio between the Brunelle Performance Hall and the tennis courts.

School board trustee Sheila Allen observed that students eating lunch on weekdays, and tennis fans enjoying a snack between weekend games, will be able to enjoy the shade beneath the solar panels above the patio.

Trustee Richard Harris spoke of the project’s environmental and financial benefits. It is estimated that the solar panels will save the high school a cumulative $1.18 million in utility bills over 25 years — money that therefore will be available for other purposes.

“As the state pushes us deeper and deeper into a budget hole, we need to do things like this,” Harris said. “It’s green, it’s great, and we can be good financial stewards.”

The solar panels are going up as part of a power purchase agreement between the Davis school district and SolarCity, a private company that handled smaller solar arrays in the Korematsu parking lot and adjacent to school buildings at Harper Junior High.

Jennifer Jachym, senior commercial project development manager with SolarCity, said the Davis High project’s environmental benefits will include a carbon dioxide offset of 18.9 million pounds, the equivalent of planting more than 16 acres of trees and the equivalent of 24 million car miles driven in an ordinary vehicle.

To make room for the panels, existing trees planted between rows of parking spaces will be removed. However, Harris said the school district will replace those trees with new trees planted elsewhere on school district property, at a ratio of nearly two to one.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at jhudson@davisenterprise.net or (530) 747-8055.

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Discussion | 6 comments

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  • Ron glickMay 17, 2012 - 3:26 pm

    why is there money for this but not for teachers?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • O'reallyMay 17, 2012 - 3:37 pm

    They're called "Barack bucks" and there are plenty of those for solar.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Bruce Colby (School Business Official)May 17, 2012 - 9:33 pm

    Ron, It is a no cost project for the District. It is a lease arrangement that get paids from the energy savings. It generates savings. It is called a power purchase agreement. The details can be found on our DJUSD board agenda website under a search for solar. Bruce

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • RobinMay 20, 2012 - 9:53 pm

    Why are you not providing this same opportunity to all the elementary schools in Davis?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • wdf1May 21, 2012 - 9:27 am

    "Why are you not providing this same opportunity to all the elementary schools in Davis?" Most elementary campuses I can think of have relatively small parking lots that might be impractical for generating enough return for the effort. Korematsu has a bigger parking lot and does have solar panels there.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JamesMay 21, 2012 - 9:18 am

    Robin, maybe the other schools in Davis will also get the benefits of solar paneling down the road, and they are just starting with the high school? Sooner or later most students in Davis will benefit as they will end up taking classes at the high school.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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