Sahuarita school district moves forward with $17 million solar panel project

$17 million energy efficiency project breaks ground this summer

Sahuarita school district moves forward with $17 million solar panel project

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - In the midst of uncertainty over the public health crisis, positive things are still happening in the Sahuarita Unified School District.

The district is moving forward with plans to install solar panel structures at all its schools.

Phase 1 of a $17 million energy efficiency project will break ground this summer.

That includes building solar panel shade structures at all nine schools in SUSD, as well as replacing light bulbs and upgrading plumbing.

Superintendent Dr. Manuel Valenzuela said the district's main goal for the project is to be good stewards of the environment.

They're looking to reduce their carbon footprint and save a little money along the way.

In fact, by going solar, it's estimated they'll save $600,000 in utility bills the first year.

Valenzuela said the construction of these solar panels is very practical for SUSD, but it’s also an educational opportunity.

The job of teachers is to promote lifelong learning and to always look for ways to use knowledge to make things better.

These solar structures are tangible and real-world examples of that.

Now, while the project has been in the works for several years, its additional value-added benefit right now is its timing.

“I think this project is a hopeful sign and an encouraging sign that we’re moving forward with normal, exciting, and promising initiatives that are going to continue to move our community forward,” Valenzuela said.

Valenzuela added it will take about a year to complete the nine structures, but they hope to be fully operational and generating their own solar power by the 2021 school year.

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