District Cuts Carbon Emissions with Solar Panels


Aleksandra Markovic, Staff Writer

Over the summer, solar panels were installed over the back parking lot.

The Solar Project, according to the Acalanes Union High School District, is part of its focus on helping the environment. AUHSD superintendent John Nickerson wrote on the AUHSD website that the project “will allow us to substantially reduce our carbon footprint (the equivalent of pulling about 350 cars off the road), realize significant savings in general fund operating costs, contribute substantial energy to the ‘grid’ during peak times (afternoon and summer), and model the use of renewable energy to our students.”

Carbon footprint is the measure of an individual’s or a group’s impact on the environment, and it’s measured by units of CO2, carbon dioxide. Reducing it would mean less usage of fossil fuels used as energy consumers or water heaters.

The Solar project will save money as well as energy. The website provided information that this new technology “will save $110,900 in year one” and that “higher electricity inflation rates will result in greater savings for the District.”

Karen Findlay, the associate principal, is optimistic about the change. “I think it’s a great idea! And it’s going relatively smoothly,” Findlay said. “Over the summer, if you were doing sports or other activities, you were inconvenienced slightly because you couldn’t use the back big parking lot, but I think overall it was for a good reason, and I think the District’s Solar Project has been really successful and it’s going to save the district a lot of money.”

Some less-obvious changes have also been in the works. Groundskeeper Oscar Verduzco explained that a new watering system for the plants around campus has been installed this year. It’s a drip irrigation system and Verduzco said that it will save water, “almost half as more than before”.

“When sprinklers spray water on top of the plants, and there’s a lot of Sun outside the water evaporates and they die faster. But the drip system goes into the ground, so they get more moisture, and they save a lot of water,” said Verduzco.

“The school is going to be painted next summer, and a mural might happen this year above the big gym, and all of the metal bars outside will be taken off,” Findlay said.

More solar panels will be mounted next to the pipes that go over the quad. The solar panels will provide energy to heat the pool, reducing water-heater expenses.