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Burbank school district plans solar project

Funding for panels to come from grant supplied by city's utility company.

September 24, 2013|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com

The Burbank Unified School District will install its first solar panel project with rebate funds it won in a lottery provided by Burbank Water and Power.

The Burbank school board accepted the $29,100 solar rebate worth last week and members immediately began discussing tentative plans for installing solar panels at the Burbank Adult School.

The project will serve as the district’s initial solar-panel installation — one district officials will make reference to as they forge ahead with additional solar projects they will pay for with Measure S funds.

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Burbank Unified applied for the rebate grant this summer following the Burbank City Council’s decision in June to open up Burbank Water and Power’s rebate program to new applicants for solar-energy systems that generate 30 kilowatts of power or less.

The rebate would comprise 10% of the solar project planned for the Burbank Adult School, said Craig Bell, director of facilities for Burbank Unified.

The school — where adults take classes to improve their English-language skills, earn their GEDs or take general enrichment classes — could ultimately become the recipient of a solar project worth $300,000, with panels installed on structures over the school’s parking lot to double as shade for parked cars.

Even though it’s a small percentage, the grant “would certainly be money that I would not want to give up,” Bell said.

School board member Larry Applebaum said officials have focused on installing the first solar panels at sites within the district that are used during the hot summer months.

The solar-energy system is currently in the design phase, and the panels will likely be installed by August 2014, according to a staff report.

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Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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