California School District Approves Large Solar Installation

Central Valley Solar News – Amid some controversy, Calfornia central valley Lodi school district has approved a $10 million solar panel installation on several schools in the district. The solar panels will produce enough power to sell back to the California grid. Key phrase here, “sell solar electric power back to the grid”.

Schools everywhere are taping into the benifits of solar, wind and renewable energy. These community leaders understand that leadership is all about standing up for your prinicples when it is inconvient and it takes political courage to do it. Throughout history prinicpled leaders summoned up the political courage and act. Our entire society depends upon it.

Big polluters have been working all year to convince Congress and the California voters to weaken clean energy policies (like prop 23… vote NO). But whose air is it? It’s ours, let’s stand up to the fossil fuel industry and make sure the air our children breath is cleaner than our own.

It is projected that this solar installation will produce nearly $180,000 in revenue for the school district. Solar, wind and renewable energy pays for itself, creates good paying local careers, green jobs jobs and provides a better future for our children. Lodi school district board is our newest American solar hero and we tip our hat to them for their political courage. Read More

Sunny outlook for three north Stockton schools, Trio will use solar energy starting in 2011. By Keith Reid Record Net Staff Writer

Lodi Unified trustees have approved a nearly $10 million solar energy project that will place panels at McNair and Bear Creek high schools and Christa McAuliffe Middle School. The solar panels will produce close to two megawatts of power, enough to operate the schools with some left over to sell back onto California’s power grid at a profit.

Along with the three schools, the district will also build smaller solar panel outlets that will generate 150 kilowatts in Lodi at the district office, and others at Lodi High that will generate 250 kilowatts of pure solar power.

“Our conservative estimate is that we’ll generate an average of $180,000 a year by reselling solar back to the grid, and we hope some of that can go back into the district’s general fund,” Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and Maintenance Art Hand said.

The bulk of the electrical energy will be produced through solar panels that will be built and installed as commercial solar car ports in parking lots at the three north Stockton schools. Cars that park beneath them will be shaded.

The project could break ground by December, pending the sale of Certificate of Participation bonds, which will be used to finance the solar installation project. While the district will eventually pay $15 million to pay down its debt on the project over a 17-year-period, the savings on electricity bills and the sale of leftover energy will create more than $2 million in revenue for the district over the same time span, Hand said.

The project’s expense, however, has become a bit of a hot-button topic for candidates who are vying for seats on the Board of Trustees in the Nov. 2 election.

Candidate Dana Baker, a San Joaquin Delta College employee who is running in Area 3, said the solar project was unnecessary. Michael Staples, another board challenger, has said he thinks the district should stay away from expensive projects that bring 17 years worth of debt payments.

Trustee Calvin Young was among the solar project’s biggest proponents. At the board’s Sept. 7 meeting, he applauded it as a way the district has moved to become more “green” and energy efficient.

That the district will make money on the solar energy produced is a bonus, he said.

His colleagues on the board also supported the solar project, which will be used to teach students about solar energy in future science classes.

“I just think this is a tremendous opportunity to help our children have a better understanding of solar photovoltaic and renewable energy,” Trustee Ken Davis said. Solar products in all it forms pays dividends and just makes sence.