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Schools moving forward with solar

25 campuses to get panels to generate own electricity

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Schools moving forward with solar

An example of a typical solar panel parking lot shade structure.

Photo contributed/

POSTED January 22, 2013 12:35 a.m.

The multimillion-dollar renewable energy project of the Manteca Unified School District that will have solar panels installed in more than two-dozen high school and elementary campuses is quickly moving along.

Members of the Board of Trustees will consider and then vote on three separate action items on the agenda tonight at 7 o’clock in the school district board room, 2271 W. Louise Avenue in Manteca, which will take the project closer to its completion.

First, the board will consider district staff’s recommendation to approve the agreement with Eric Whole of LDA Partners in Stockton for $46,500 in “architectural and related services” in connection with the Regional Environmental Studies Center Building that is part of the project. The board is also being asked to take action on a resolution approving the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) exemption for the district’s Renewable Energy Education Program since the proposed solar installations are “considered a minor alteration of existing facilities and represent negligible expansion of the existing use of the sites.” With their net generating capacity just 50MW or less, these installations can be simply considered as co-generation projects.

The third action item on the agenda relating to the renewable energy project involves the installation of ground structures for the solar panels. The board is being asked to approve the “implementation of requirements” for these structures to be installed. These include, but not limited to the following:

• That these ground structures will not be accessible to students, teachers and the public;

• They will not be accessible to or used by persons with disabilities,

• They will be enclosed by a fence which will include a sign that states, “Not open to the public – maintenance personnel only” to ensure “no students, teachers or the general public will be subject to a hazard resulting from potential collapse of the ground structures.”

The agreement for the above portion of the renewable energy project is with IEC Power, LLC. In addition to the school district office site, the plan under this proposal would involve the installation on ground and on existing-property shade structures at the Lathrop, East Union, Manteca, Sierra, and Weston Ranch high school campuses, as well as at the following elementary schools: August Knodt, Brock Elliott, French Camp, George Komure, George McParland, Golden West, Great Valley, Joseph Widmer, Jr., Joshua Cowell, Lathrop, Lincoln, Mossdale, Neil Hafley, New Haven, Nile Garden, Sequoia, Shasta, Stella Brockman, Veritas, and Walter Woodward elementary schools.

This renewable energy project is part of the school district’s goal of implementing energy-efficient school operations and to build energy-saving systems.

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