The Hart District has done a lot over winter break to let the sun shine in and save the taxpayers money, as solar energy systems are being installed at nine schools in the district. While the project will have many benefits for all in the future, there are some temporary inconveniences, such as closed parking lots, that will impact returning students.
The solar installation is expected to save the district $20 million over the next 20 years, for a zero investment by the district. Solar panels are being installed in several parking lots and in some cases, are being ground-mounted on open land.
The system is expected to reduce the district’s energy consumption by 30,000 tons of carbon emissions, the equivalent of reducing 300 million miles of automobile driving.
Systems are being installed on the campuses of Golden Valley, Canyon, Valencia, West Ranch and Saugus high schools and La Mesa, Rancho Pico, Rio Norte and Sierra Vista junior high schools.
Elevated solar arrays
During the construction period, some of the parking lots will be closed off for two to three months, which may pose an inconvenience to students and parents. When school resumes on Tuesday, campus supervisors will be assisting with parking direction; carpooling is encouraged and district officials are advising students to allow extra time and caution driving around and on campus parking lots.
Schools facing the biggest impact the first week back are Valencia, Saugus and Canyon High. All will have some parking lot closures. At West Ranch, some preliminary work was done during winter break, but the project at that location will not resume until February 16, which is also when construction at Golden Valley and Sierra Vista is scheduled to begin. As is customary with any project, weather may cause delays.
Ground-mounted solar arrays
Projects at the remaining junior high schools (Rancho Pico, La Mesa and Rio Norte) are well underway and will be completed in February. Parking there for staff and visitors will be similar to what they experienced before the winter break.