Neighbor has concerns about Muirlands’ new solar panels

By Ashley Mackin

280 new solar panels are being installed at Muirlands Middle School and will be operational by the end of this year. Main Street Power, based in Boulder, Colo., will pay for the installation and maintenance of the panels, and the San Diego Unified School District will pay for the power, per what is known as a Purchase Power Agreement.

“In addition to potential cost savings for utilities, SDUSD is utilizing the solar energy via Power Purchase Agreements to reduce its carbon emissions, increase use of renewable energy, educate staff and students to new sources of electricity, and create a more predictable, reliable and manageable energy budget,” said Drew Rowlands, executive director of the District’s Auxiliary Services.

Muirlands Middle School will have 280 operational solar panels by the end of the calendar year. Ashley Mackin

Muirlands, located at 1056 Nautilus St., is the only school in La Jolla with this system, but is one of 36 sites district-wide. Muirlands was chosen because of how much direct sun it gets.

One school neighbor opposed to the project phoned the La Jolla Light to state her concerns. She said neighbors were not notified of the work, the new panels will block views, the roof may not be structurally strong enough to hold solar panels and the project may not be cost effective.

Tom Wright, the school district’s Manager of Safety, Training Personnel and Environmental Compliance for Auxiliary Services, addressed these concerns. Wright said the District did not see any impact to the neighbors because the project is contained entirely within the school.

On whether the panels will block views, Wright said the design of Muirlands Middle School would cover the panels. The roof has a profile that includes a slightly raised edge. The solar panels are close to the roof with very little angle, so they would not extend past its edge.

He added that neighbors whose property looks down at Muirlands Middle would see the panels, but there would not be any change in view beyond the school.

Additionally, Wright said the Department of State Architects (DSA), which ensures structural building codes are met and the structure is sound, approved the project. As to the financial concerns, Wright said not only will school save thousands of dollars over the next 20 years, but no money was spent to get the project going.

“The range of savings generated by the Muirlands solar panel system is estimated to be $160,000 to $480,000 for the life of the 20-year agreement. These estimates are based on historical rates and consumption.”

It’s projected that district-wide, the savings could be $2 million to $6 million over the next 20 years.

Prior to this project, San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) provided the power to the school, and what would have gone to SDG&E will now go to pay for the solar power. “[Main Street Power] basically got our approval to put their equipment on our roofs and sell us the power and so all the money we’re going to expend on solar power would have been expended to SDG&E,” Wright said. Additionally, rates from the agreement will not change for entire contract of 20 years, so Muirlands knows how much it will pay and can budget accordingly.

“These rates won’t fluctuate as SDG&E rates would every three to five years,” Wright said. “We know what to budget [and] we’re going to save money and that’s why we’re signed up to do it.”

Related posts:

  1. GMO panel to be held at UCSD this October
  2. Evans’ sixth- and seventh-graders learn on iPads
  3. Slight declines in enrollment could impact La Jolla School budgets
  4. Social networks have impact on voter turnout, UC San Diego study shows
  5. Muirlands, La Jolla Elementary plan open houses

Short URL:

Posted by Ashley Mackin on Oct 24, 2012. Filed under La Jolla, News, Schools. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

La Jolla Community Calendar


Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Summer 2014 Carmel Valley Open Basketball League Champs: ‘Carmel Valley Spurs’ August 30, 2014
    On Aug. 18, the Carmel Valley Spurs defeated the Solana Beach Stray Cats, 67-41, in the 5th/6th grade championship game in the Master Sports Carmel Valley OPEN Basketball League. Over a 10-game season, the offense scored 659 points while giving up only 364 on defense. The average game score was 66-36. They had the best rebounders, best shooters, and best def […]
  • Hundreds turn out for Carmel Valley planning board meeting on One Paseo August 30, 2014
    Hearts and visions collided at the Aug. 28 Carmel Valley Community Planning Board meeting, where an overflow crowd turned out to debate the future of the last major slice of the community left to be developed. All 400 seats in Canyon Crest Academy’s theater were filled, and people spilled out into the aisles and crammed into standing-room only spots in the b […]
  • Del Mar Library book-to-movie club picks fall reads August 30, 2014
    Print Goes to the Movies, a book/movie discussion group held at the Del Mar Branch Library at 2 p.m. every second Friday, has announced its upcoming dates and movies. […]