Friday, February 29, 2008

Solar Energy Will Give Dixon High New Boost

Solar Energy Will Give Dixon High New Boost
By Melissa Murphy/Staff Writer
Article Launched: 02/29/2008

The sun will be shining brightly on Dixon High School despite the gloom-and-doom news of the district's million-dollar deficit.

Dixon Unified School Board President Shana Levine announced Thursday morning during the "State of the City" address that the district will be working with Honeywell International to construct a massive solar energy facility adjacent to the new school campus.

Last year, the district applied for a tax rebate from the state for solar energy projects. The rebate awarded to the district will be given to Honeywell to construct the three-acre, 700 Kilowatt facility. That facility will generate more than enough to provide 90 percent of the school's energy needs.

The building of the new solar farm in the next few months will cost the district absolutely nothing.

Levine explained that the facility will be floor-mounted, with a tilt access to allow the screens to move with the sunlight.

"As it rotates it will get the maximum amount of sunlight possible," she said.

Levine explained that it will also have an educational component as well. Honeywell plans on building a kiosk on campus that would monitor and track usage for students to see.

"I imagine the elementary students will benefit educationally as well," she said. "They can take a trip to the high school to learn about solar energy."

Levine said that teaching the younger students will play a crucial part in their future.

"We're doing our best to set an example and trying to be good stewards," she said. "These young kids will have to look at prices in a different way when they're older."

Honeywell already is known in Solano County for working with the county's Board of Supervisors, which approved a 746,000-watt solar array project to reduce power costs at the Claybank Adult Detention Facility. The solar array will also serve as shade structures for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District buses, which currently are using the old missile magazine site as a parking lot.

Another benefit of generating solar energy is that the Dixon Unified School District will have a set cost, which will be less than the regular rate PG&E charges.

"We're doing what we can to save the environment," said Ed Eusebio, retired director of facilities. Eusebio is now working with Schools Facility Services as a consultant. "One thing is for sure, we will be using a renewable energy and less fossil fuels. It has the potential of saving us millions of dollars."

Melissa Murphy can be reached at

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