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San Ramon Valley Unified School District installs 10k photovoltaic panels at five schools

In a move that is proving to be controversial with some, some California school districts are looking to a high-tech way to save money, even if the payback won't be achieved until well over a decade later. CNN is reporting that some California school districts are looking to low-interest federal loans to install solar panels on schools.

CNN singled out the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, which has installed roughly 10,000 photovoltaic panels at five of its 35 total schools at a cost of $23 million. Under the most optimistic projections, the photovoltaic panels would offset energy usage at the schools by 67 to 75 percent. 

According to spokesman Terry Koehne, the San Ramon Valley Unified School District will pay back the loans courtesy of the energy savings from using the solar installations. However, this won't be a quick payback for the school system -- it will take roughly 16 years to break even on the photovoltaic panels.

Koehne, however, points to the upside of embarking on this expensive venture; "It's pure profit after that. And following that, we're going to start realizing savings of $2 (million), $3 (million), $4 million a year."

Like many schools across the nation, California schools are facing a serious budget crunch. Less money means fewer teachers, fewer teaching assistants, and more students per classroom. By making this move now, the school district is hoping that the future payoff will allow it use its resources more wisely. 

Lower production costs, thanks to stiff competition from Chinese companies, is causing a surge in the adoption of solar panels. One of the causalities of the race to the bottom in panel costs was Silicon Valley-based Solyndra. The company received a rushed $535 million loan courtesy of the Obama industry during 2009 in order to bolster its operations.

However, the company two years later filed for bankruptcy and axed over 1,000 employees. Interestingly, an email that was sent out before final approval of the loan was granted rightly projected that the company would run out of money by September 2011. 



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RE: Bad economic analysis once more
By DrApop on 9/19/2011 2:48:38 PM , Rating: 2
Your 500 billion is way off the mark. You having included all the military aid, training, and weapons we provide all around the world....not to mention 2 wars with parts of their costs never included as part of the original budget.

But I am not for eliminating the military. I want to bring them ALL home. Fill up the bases we closed here in the US. That brings money back to the US. Military bases higher loads of civilians for all types of jobs on base....that increases job numbers enormously around bases. Food, clothing, electronics for servicemen could be US purchased and transported to bases rather than bought in europe or elsewhere for sales on foreign bases. And instead of the 20K servicemen guarding the border in Korea, they can guard OUR southern border.

Hey that is a 500 billion dollar US stimulus right there...and in our own yard!


RE: Bad economic analysis once more
By DrApop on 9/19/2011 2:57:00 PM , Rating: 2
Sheesh, I think I need an education. That has to be the most poorly worded reply I have ever posted. I apologize...for the penmanship, not the message :)


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