April 5, 2011

Schools win with Solar

Putting solar panels on school roofs is a winner

We all know Tucson is a solar city. Maybe soon our schools will be solar power producers.

As the Star’s Alexis Huicochea reported last week, Tucson Electric Power Co. is looking to lease school rooftops for solar arrays. So far, Tucson Unified School District and the Vail School District are considering the idea.

Here are the basics: Schools must have at least 50,000 square feet of flat rooftop space. A school with 200,000 square feet of space would produce enough power for 170 homes.

The costs would be comparable to other large-scale solar arrays on the edges of town, but without first needing to blade the desert.

And Tucson Electric Power has said it will be using a module that can be installed without drilling into the rooftops and creating damage.

At first blush, the idea sounds like a win for all sides, and we encourage each of Tucson’s area school districts to look into the Bright Roofs program.

The idea potentially helps Tucson Electric Power meet its requirements to have 15 percent of its energy come from renewable resources by 2025, and it provides much-needed revenue to our school districts. Besides, rooftop solar displays offer potential educational opportunities for students.

Ten TUSD high schools would meet the space requirements, and all 17 of Vail’s schools would have big enough rooftops for solar panels.

Still, details need to be worked out. It’s unclear how much TEP would pay for the leases, and assurances need to be made that there won’t be any rooftop damage.

“We want to know exactly what the contract looks like,” Candy Egbert, TUSD’s interim chief operations officer, told us. “We understand that the expectation is they actually don’t attach anything to the roof. We just need to investigate, and we haven’t concluded our analysis yet.”

Egbert said TUSD and TEP officials will be meeting this week to discuss the idea. Meanwhile, TUSD Superintendent John Pedicone was enthusiastic about the possibility.

“This is exactly the kind of partnership we are interested in exploring,” he said.

Read the full story at Arizona Daily Star

Share and Enjoy:

This post was written by:

admin - who has written 80 posts

Contact the Author »