Glendale Unified officials welcome Measure S-funded solar installations

With a promise of saving millions of dollars, Glendale school officials on Mondaycelebrated newly installed solar panels at Crescenta Valley High School.

“This is an exciting day for us,” said school board President Christine Walters.

The panels at seven Glendale schools will generate 1.34 megawatts of power and in the first year save the district an estimated $543,000.

“That’s going to be money that goes right back into the general fund to be used to support our educational program,” said Alan Reising, the district’s director of facility operations.

The panels cost $7.2 million to install and were paid for by the $270-million Measure S bond passed by voters in April 2011.

“We cannot stress enough how important Measure S has been and will continue to be,” Walters said.

Over the next 30 years, energy savings could mean $10 million after construction costs.

The newly outfitted schools include Mark Keppel, Columbus, Mountain Avenue andMonte Vista elementary schools; Rosemont Middle School; and Clark Magnet and Crescenta Valley high schools.

Some residents living near the panels complained to officials this summer that the structures intrude on their views and reduce home values.

Residents requested relocating the panels, but with construction already weeks in, school officials refused. They plan instead to plant trees near the panels to mitigate their appearance.

And already, the panels are doing more than just generating electricity.

Crescenta Valley science teacher Christina Engen has incorporated the project into her lessons.

“It will help demystify ‘solar’ to students,” she said.

“Ghandi said, ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world,’ Engen added. “I think these panels are moving us in that right direction.”

Manufactured by China-based Yingli Solar, the panels are made from crystalline silica that has been refined into silicon.

The panels will likely be replaced in 30 years, according to Reising, when sunlight will ultimately degrade them.

“We’ll come in and put new panels in,” Reising said. “In 30 years, it will probably be a new technology or better panels that last longer.”

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