LVUSD debates installing solar technology


Jessica Smith - Staff Writer

For the past year, the Las Virgenes Unified School District staff has been working to develop a plan to install solar technology at both CHS and Agoura High School.

After receiving several proposals, the LVUSD staff recommended that the district use Borrego Solar to install the solar technology at both of the schools.  The staff created a plan and, after many revisions, Borrego Solar asked for a final decision to be made on the implementation of solar technology at the high schools.  It will not cost the district any money to install the panels.

“At this point the board is split on the [addition] of solar technology,” said LVUSD superintendent Donald Zimring. “However, everyone is open to the idea and wants to have more feedback from students and the community before making a decision.”

Several benefits would include decreased energy bills that would annually save the district, at the minimum, $35,000, real world training for students enrolled in ROP courses and covered lighting in the student parking lot.  According to the LVUSD board agenda on Feb. 7, the solar technology would help the district’s goal of “environmental stewardship,” which refers to the districts intentions of being as environmentally friendly as possible.

“It is very exciting that our district is implementing this alternative energy source to reduce our school wide demand for electricity from fossil fuels,” said AP Environmental Science teacher Markie Daniel. “I hope this is just the start toward a sustainable energy generation in LVUSD.”

Although the solar technology will provide benefits to the school and community, board members still have this proposal under consideration.  First, the district would be required to make a 20 year contract with the company, which would obligate LVUSD to continue using the solar technology for that time period.  Many board members do not want to make the commitment to use one type of technology for 20 years.  In addition, some people are worried about the appearance of the solar panels in the parking lot.

The LVUSD staff is seeking direction from the board regarding the next step in the process.   After the Feb. 7 board meeting, the proposal was sent back for further revision. If the board passes this proposal, the technology will most likely be installed in the parking lots and on school slopes during the summer of 2012. •