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High school installs solar panels to cut costs

Solar panels.
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© Tiffany israel/OUHSD
File photo: Oxnard High School's six acres of ground-mounted solar panels located behind the school. © Tiffany israel/OUHSD
Adolfo Camarillo High School is going green to save some green.

Camarillo High on Mission Oaks Boulevard will be the fifth school in Oxnard Union High School District to add solar panels to its campus in an effort to cut electrical costs.

The $2.6-million project was funded through a 2004 bond initiative, according to Steve Dickinson, assistant superintendent in charge of business services for the district.

He said the project will save Camarillo High money and could provide additional revenue for the district.

“The average annual electric bill at Camarillo High is about $125,000,” Dickinson said. “When everything is operational, we will just about eliminate that cost. It will also generate more electricity than the school needs.”

Dick inson said about $100,000 of additional electricity will be generated at the school. The district can either choose to have the money refunded or save it as credits. He said if the district chooses to receive a refund it would be at a substantial penalty.

“We have many different electric bills from other sites,” Dickinson said. “We’ll probably just take the credits and apply them elsewhere.”

Stephen McFarland, director of maintenance and operations for the district, said Rio Mesa, Pacifica, Oxnard and Hueneme high schools have already added solar panels. He said the savings at other schools is driving the district to make the upgrade on all its campuses.

“We’re looking long-term,” said McFarland, who has worked in the district for 14 years. “Our bills at the other schools are coming in at 10 percent of what they were.”

McFarland said the project at Camarillo High took about three months to complete and has already been inspected by the Division of the State Architect. He said the project should go live sometime this month.

Principal Glenn Lipman said the solar project at his school is about more than the financial savings.

“We’re trying to go green” said Lipman, who has been principal of the school for eight years. “It’s a goal for our school and our district.”

The next school to go solar, according to McFarland, will be Channel Islands High School. He said the project at the Oxnard campus should be up and running in late January.

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