Construction is nearly complete on the second phase of Clovis Unified’s huge solar project, which will outfit just about the entire school district with solar panels where it’s cost effective.
Crews started installing solar panels over the parking lots at 23 school sites, including the district’s five high schools, in September, said Don Ulrich, the district’s assistant superintendent of facility services.
A power purchase agreement is in place, in which SolarCity will build the solar units and then sell the district the power they generate at a price much less than what PG&E would charge, Ulrich said.
“We hope to be done by the end of May,” he said.
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About 15 to 20 trees have been or will be removed at each school site, due to construction needs, Ulrich said.
“We’ll put back every tree we take down,” he said. “Our goal is to replace trees in that location, or at another location on the campus using our own resources or Tree Fresno. The students will have an opportunity to get involved with the planting.”
Tree Fresno is a local nonprofit that has planted more than 40,000 trees in the Fresno-Clovis area.
The group of solar systems will have a capacity of 11 megawatts, nearly twice as much as the first phase of the district’s solar project, which was completed in 2014. The anticipated energy cost savings comes to about $1 million per year, Ulrich said, and provides the added benefit of providing shade for vehicles.