As determined by an Irvine Unified School District board vote in July, nine different campuses in Irvine Unified Public Schools will have solar-paneled parking canopies added to their parking lots. These canopies will match the individual campuses’ aesthetics, while also helping to reduce electricity costs of schools.
An estimate of $305,000 savings in the first year is expected, and depending on what the district would have been paying in electricity costs to Southern California Edison, these solar panel canopies could bring $4 to $10 million dollars in savings to IUSD over the next ten years.
The second phase of this initiative, approved at the July 10th Board of Education meeting, will add new vehicle shade structures to the parking lots of the following schools: Alderwood, Stonegate and Woodbury elementary schools, Vista Verde School, which is a K-8; Irvine, Northwood, University and Woodbridge high schools; and the new Jeffrey Trail Middle School.
Though some voted against the initiative because the panels do emit a light humming sound, which could be distracting to neighbors, ultimately, over 72 percent of those who voted on the initiative supported the construction in order to lower the district’s energy costsWith SunEdison paying for the installments of these canopies and solar panels, the district has no upfront costs to pay on the project. SunEdison installs their technology, and then sells the energy converted from the sun. They profit from charging lower costs than the district would have paid to Southern California Edison for electricity. When solar panels were added to other campuses in Irvine Unified School District, it saved approximately $220,000 in the first year on electricity costs.