Solar project resumes Friday
Construction on the solar installation project at the various campuses of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District will resume this Friday, Sept. 9.
The project, which was started earlier this summer, was put on hold awaiting approval from the Division of the State Architect on the carport units and the shade structure units. The district was waiting for two separate sets of approval.
Justin Frese, deputy superintendent, said that with the project starting up again, he anticipates the project should be done by early-to-mid-December.
Most of the ground unit structures have been installed at the district office on Railroad Avenue, the bus barn on Railroad Avenue and at Adele Harrison Middle School.
Frese has met with the campus principals to talk about the installation process.
The footings for about half of the car port units in the high school parking lot are in, but the rest need to be poured. The work in the high school parking lot will be done in two phases so that the entire lot isn't shut, as it was this summer.
Carports will be erected at Sonoma Valley High, Adele Harrison Middle School, Flowery Elementary School, the Sonoma Charter School and Sassarini Elementary School.
Shade units will be constructed at Prestwood Elementary School, Sassarini Elementary School, El Verano Elementary School, Dunbar Elementary School and Altimira Middle School.
Frese said work will begin first on the carports.
Even though the ground units are in at the district offices, they won't go online until the rest of the work is done at Altimira, because the systems are tied together.
The district went with units that have been pre-approved by the state architects instead of using roof-mounted panels.
"By using the pre-approved units, we saved probably a year in the approval process over the rooftop panels," Frese said. "And the rooftop panels would have been more expensive because of re-engineering the buildings, and anytime we would have to work on a roof, we'd have to pull the panels."
Frese said when the system does go on line, there will be a monitor where those interested can see how much power is being collected. The power will be sent back to the PG&E grid - it won't directly power the campuses.
The project is part of a $9.8 million contract with Roebbelen Construction to make the entire district solar powered.
When finished, there will be 7,140 solar panels spread out around the district and it will make the district one of the first - if not the first - school district in the state its size or larger to go completely solar.