Frequently Asked Questions
On June 8, 2010 the voters of Mt. Diablo Unified passed Measure C, a $348,000,000 Bond measure which proposed comprehensive facility improvements intended to support and enhance the educational experience of the students in our charge. One of the most significant facets of the Measure C 2010 Facilities Improvement Program is the proposed implementation of solar (photovoltaic) systems at 51 school sites. The installation of the solar system at Dent Center is to begin soon. This pamphlet is intended to address some of the frequently asked questions regarding the District’s solar program.
Why is Mt. Diablo Unified Installing Solar Systems at sites throughout the District?
Mt. Diablo Unified has long been recognized as a leader in resource conservation and has been actively exploring and continually installing energy technologies and strategies for well over 30 years. Presently the District spends approximately $3,681,410 a year from its General Fund for electricity. By installing solar systems as planned it is projected that the District will be able to dramatically reduce its annual costs for power by 91% (or $3,346,418) resulting in an annual electricity bill of $334,991. The projected savings can then be reapplied to educational programs and services for our students.
Additionally, because the District is participating in the California Solar Initiative we will receive in excess of $16,000,000 in rebates over the first five years of operation of our solar systems. These funds will also be dedicated to the enhancement of educational programs. We look forward to teachers and administrators using these projects to discuss energy conservation and environmental issues with our students.
We believe the installation of these solar systems reflects a public commitment to environmental stewardship and a creative and sustainable strategy to provide significant on-going relief to our budget which will enhance our educational programs and student support services.
How is the District paying for the solar program? Is it being funded out of the General Fund?
The solar project is being funded entirely out of 2010 Measure C Bond funds. The General Fund is not subsidizing the solar project at all.
How can the District be assured that it will save the money and reduce PG and E demand as projected?
The District’s contract with SunPower stipulates that SunPower guarantee 95% of production for a period of twenty (20) years. If SunPower fails to meet this production level they must reimburse the District for any production deficit.
What will the solar systems look like and where will they be located on the Dent Center site?
Enclosed is a site map which indicates the planned location of the solar structures and a rendering of what a typical parking structure will look like. The structures are 9 to 12 feet in height.
Who is designing and installing the systems?
After a very rigorous and publicly reviewed Request for Proposal (RFP) process, the District negotiated a contract with SunPower Corporation for the installation of the solar systems at 51 District sites. SunPower is working with ATI Architects and Engineers with respect to the design and engineering of the systems and ENGEO, Inc., for Geotechnical Engineering.
SunPower Corporation and Taber Construction will collaborate on construction management District staff is actively involved in overseeing the entire program.
Are these structures/systems safe?
The solar parking and shade structures, all the associated circuitry and electrical support equipment, and their installation details must be approved by the Division of the State Architect. Additionally, the local Fire Marshall must approve the layout/installation for safety and emergency access. All installations must be inspected and approved by a State Certified Inspector. During construction, equipment will be fenced and secure from unauthorized personnel.
Will the structures be completely waterproof? Are they just like a regular roof?
While the structures will indeed provide shelter from the sun and rain they are not absolutely waterproof. It is likely that during periods of heavy rain water may find its way through panel interconnection points in the solar arrays.
When will these systems be installed? When will they be completed?
Dent Center is in the first installation increment and construction is tentatively scheduled to begin June 2011 and completed approximately September 2011. These timelines are contingent on the timely approval of design by the Division of the State Architect.
Any significant changes in this timeline will be communicated to Dent Center administration .and community.
Will construction take place during the school day?
Yes. Due to the scheduling constraints of the solar program it is necessary that construction activity take place during the regular school day. Every effort will be made to minimize disruption due to noise, dust and interruption of service. The District and the contractor will collaborate on significantly adjusting activities during periods of scheduled testing. Construction work will be highly supervised and, to the extent possible, construction areas will be blocked off from school activity areas. In keeping with District policies and Education Code requirements, personnel working on the project must provide proof of compliance with fingerprinting/criminal background check requirements prior to the start of construction..
What services will be affected? i.e. telephones, power, lights, water, heating restrooms, parking?
Hopefully, neither the staff nor students will experience any loss of power, heat or water. However, accidents do happen. If and when such accidental disruptions occur, the construction manager assigned to your site and the District will respond immediately. Because the solar structures will be installed in parking lot facilities and/or paved play areas there will be unavoidable disruptions in those particular areas. The District and the contractors will be working with the site staff in advance of actual construction to establish and coordinate alternate parking and student use plan so as to minimize the disruption and loss of use of these areas.
Contact Pete Pedersen at (925) 825-7440, Extension 3801 or connect with him via e-mail at email@example.com.
Board of Education
Gary L. Eberhart, President
Sherry Whitmarsh, Vice President
Linda K. Mayo, Member
Cheryl Hansen, Member
Lynne Dennler, Member
Steven Lawrence, Superintendent
Rose Lock, Assistant Superintendent, Student Achievement and School Support
Mildred Browne, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent, Pupil Services and Special Education
Julie Braun Martin, Assistant Superintendent, Personnel Services
Bryan Richards, Chief Financial Officer
Greg Rolen, General Counsel