LAUSD methodically developing solar implementation plan

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Under a solar agreement signed with PMFG, the board has agreed to install solar arrays at every school within the district and at the district’s central office. Courtesy photo

The Los Alamitos Unified School District is on course to develop its system-wide solar energy supplemental plan, Facilities Director C. J. Knowland told the board of education in a workshop on Tuesday.

Under a solar agreement signed with PMFG, the board has agreed to install solar arrays at every school within the district and at the district’s central office.

District Superintendent Dr. Andrew Pulver has argued the agreement with PFMG provides for the company to supply and maintain the equipment, yet district officials have estimated could save LAUSD more than $16 million over the next three decades.

To facilitate the agreement, Knowland said he has been working with PFMG to meet with the principals and other stakeholders at each site to identify the best location for the solar arrays.

“We want them to know where they are going and what school officials can expect,” said Knowland. “We have walked each site” with plans in hand, he said, and in some cases, making changes as suggested by stakeholders.

“We want clear expectations so that there are no surprises at the end of the day,” said Knowland.

The agreement with the solar company requires them to install and maintain the equipment and if they do not produce the minimum amount of energy for which they have contracted, PFMG will have to “pay us back.”

“That’s the beauty of us not owning the system,” added Pulver.

While the state will eventually have to get state approval for the energy plan, Knowland said they are using pre-approved plans so any formal approvals will, for the most part, be cursory at best.

Knowland shared with the board slides from each campus, illustrating the initial plan and, in some cases, the changes that have been made after getting feedback.

In some cases, solar arrays have been split on campus to provide additional shade and, in the case of the district office, the group decided on a single, strategically placed array to provide for bus access and other requirements.

Knowland told Board member Meg Cutuli that the solar arrays would not kill grassy areas, but conversely, would enhance them.

Board member Chris Forehan thanked Knowland, telling him the staff “had really done its homework.”

Knowland said the district’s plan and other information remains posted to the district’s website and that there is a feedback form for anyone to provide additional feedback going forward.