Los Al Unified implements solar strategy on campuses

Solar array now up at McGaugh Elementary Photo by Jeannette Andruss

The large metal structures started appearing on campuses just days after schools let out earlier this month.

Solar panel systems are currently being built at the Los Alamitos Unified School district’s six elementary schools, two middle schools and district office and will soon be constructed at Los Alamitos High School.

A revised design for the panels at LAHS was on the June 28 Board of Education meeting agenda. (The Event-News Enterprise publication deadline was prior to the meeting.) The design for the high school campus solar panel project was reworked based on community feedback, which was gathered at every site through meetings, according to C.J. Knowland, Director of Facilities, Maintenance, Operations, and Transportation for the district.

First approved in 2020, The solar panel project could translate to between $11-$17 million in savings over the next 30 years, according to the district. The installation will help cut power costs and also provide shade in parking lots and on campuses.

“That was one of the main things we discussed for the sites to figure out the locations that will provide the most benefit,” Knowland said in a phone interview this week.

He said that while the solar panel structures will likely be built before the school year resumes in August at the elementary and middle schools, they won’t start generating energy until weeks after school starts. Once up and running, Knowland said the structures will provide between up to 70% of the district’s electricity.