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School district to harvest more sunlight

Project to extend use of solar power will install panels on five campuses over the summer at a cost of $4.6 million.

March 07, 2013|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com

The Glendale Unified School District will undertake its largest solar project yet when it installs panels at Glendale High School this summer that could generate 427 kilowatts of power, which is about 25% of the power used by the school in a year.

Solar panels will also be installed at Roosevelt Middle School, as well as at Balboa, Fremont and Marshall elementary schools.

Construction is scheduled to begin in June after school is dismissed for the summer, said Alan Reising, administrator of facilities planning at Glendale Unified.

The five projects will cost about $4.6 million, which the district will pay for using clean renewable energy bonds.

Contractors currently are working on designs for all five campuses.

“All the systems will be up and installed by the time the kids get back,” Reising said.

Several other schools in the district already have solar panels, including Mark Keppel, Columbus, Mountain Avenue and Monte Vista elementary schools, Rosemont Middle School, and Clark Magnet and Crescenta Valley high schools.

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Officials estimate the 12 systems combined will generate 2.4 megawatts of power and will save the district $740,000 during their first full year of operation.

District officials also plan to build panels on a new classroom building yet to be built at Franklin Elementary.

An online tracking tool on the district's website shows energy consumption and output at each school site according to the day, week, month or year since the panels have been installed.

The site also provides an indication of how the solar panels impact each school's carbon footprint.

At Clark Magnet High School, for example, data shows that the panels have offset more than 157,000 pounds of carbon dioxide since October.

At Crescenta Valley High, more than 113,000 pounds of carbon dioxide have been offset since September.

However, solar projects may come to a halt for Glendale Unified, depending on how many grants or financial incentives the district can secure to fund future projects, Reising said.

“Without the incentives, it doesn't make any economic sense,” he added.

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Follow Kelly Corrigan on on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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