Sunday, April 22, 2012

Solar Panels Unveiled At Westborough Middle School

Local politicians, community leaders, educators, parents and students all turned out to Westborough Middle School on Friday afternoon to watch the ceremonial switch get thrown that will turn on the new solar panels that were purchased with funds from the Measure J bond.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and Assemblyman Jerry Hill joined members of the South San Francisco School District and City Council, as well as representatives from Chevron, in speaking to the crowd before the solar panels were turned on.

The solar panel system, which is expected to generate 1.68 megawatts of electricity for the school district, is the largest of its kind in San Mateo County. In order to fund construction, the district tapped into revenue from the $162 million Measure J bond, passed by voters in 2010.

But the district is hoping that money spent on construction is not gone forever. Over the course of the next 25 years, the solar panel system is expected to generate nearly $20 million in money that can be put back into the district's general fund, according to a district report.

"This project is incredibly exciting," said Judith Bush, president of the South San Francisco School Board, citing the ability of the district to take the money generated by the panels and spend it in the classroom to benefit students.

Torlakson, a former science teacher, agreed. And said that the project has an opportunity not only to benefit the district financially, but also to enhance eduation by opening the dialogue between students and teachers about the importance of sustainable energy.

"This investment is really a model investment," said Torlakson.

His sentiments were seconded by Hill, who voiced his appreciation for the partnership that exists between the school district, residents, and business community which led to completion of the project.

Chevron played an integral in designing and engineering the project, and will continue to maintain it over the course of the next two decades, according to public documents.

According to Chevron Chief Financial Officer and Director of Finance Teresa Mayer, the project generated 100 jobs in the sustainable energy industry for local workers.

South San Francisco School District Superintendent Alejandro Hogan praised the many achievements that are already part of the project, and said he looked forward to the many more that it will be responsible for in the future.

He said he hoped that the benefits of completing sustainable energy projects such as the district's solar panel system will create a healthier enviornnment for future generations.


No comments: