Private enterprise has seemingly found a match made in heaven in the San Luis Coastal Unified School District’s solar-array deal with Rec Solar and Sun Edison. The project would cost $14 million to put 12-foot-tall solar panels on eight campuses. No permit process is required because of the district’s public facility exemptions, so no neighbors would be notified and there would be no public review.
There are claims the project would return benefits equivalent to planting more than 290,000 trees, by replacing electricity generated by burning fossil fuels. Ironically, more than 150 trees are targeted for removal to accommodate the structures: San Luis High will be hit hardest with more than 80 trees slated for the chipper.
The project could save the district several million dollars over the project’s life expectancy of 25 years at no cost to taxpayers. Though such a project ordinarily would deserve applause, in this case the solar arrays are not going on rooftops, which would obviate the need to remove most of the 150 trees. Rooftop installation has been called unfeasible because of structural challenges, yet most district schools have solid, modern construction.
We need to support rooftop installation: Let’s keep the trees we have and plant more! The school board will discuss the project again at the February 16 board meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. at the SLO District Office, Room J2. Attend or send comments to the board via mailto:district
@slcusd.org or 1500 Lizzie Street, San Luis Obispo 93401.