CUSD considers going green with solar panels

Going greener?

Carmel Unified’s board is considering the concept for installing solar panels at the CUSD transportation yard behind Carmel Middle School. 

“I believe in investing in solar power and being environmentally conscientious,” CUSD board member Rita Patel said last week. “In return the district will benefit financially from this move and also at the same time reduce our carbon foot print.”

“The board received a presentation from the architect who designed a system of modular solar canopies for the Campbell Union High School District,” district office Chief Business Officer Rick Blanckmeister said. “His design was commissioned and implemented by the Campbell Union High School District on a large-scale basis at several of their campuses.”

Blanckmeister said that the concept [the architect] presented assumed arrays of solar panels could be installed around the perimeter of the existing bus yard, thereby providing cover for the buses, while generating sufficient energy to meet the needs of the middle school.

“I think it’s about time…that our district gets on board with providing cleaner, cheaper, energy for our classrooms,” CHS AP Environmental Science teacher Jason Maas-Baldwin observed. “The school is using an enormous amount of energy, and we can decrease our carbon footprint and the local area’s substantially.”

This concept came after the Monterey County Office of Education announced its solar energy product over a year ago and Seaside High School’s announcement of solar panel installation soon after.

According to an article written by Claudia Melendez Salinas of The Herald, MPUSD trustees last year approved plans to install a 520-kilowatt solar project, which consultants estimate will save the district about $4 million in electricity costs over the next 25 years.

The article also stated that the project is projected to cost $2.5 million, and trustees chose a two-pronged approach to finance it. About $1.1 million will be covered with proceeds from Measure P, which designated $110 million in bonds to repair and modernize schools, according to the MPUSD website.

With these new projects in mind, this puts the cost of a project like this for CUSD into perspective.

-Jason Clarke