School officials are offering a $250 reward to anyone with information about the vandalism to solar panels. During the last three days, vandals have smashed two solar panels at Seeliger Elementary School.
"This hurts everybody in town - kids, teachers, parents, taxpayers," said Mark Korinek, operations manager for the Carson City School District. "It all comes out of their pocket book having to replace this."
Korinek discovered the first smashed panel Thursday. On Friday, he returned to find a second panel smashed and a broken cinder block nearby.
"These are at least $1,200," he said. "This is a major crime."
Korinek suspects it was the same person or group of people and that they climbed the chain link fence to get in.
He said the damage was not accidental.
"They're rated to take a golf ball at 50 mph," he explained. "You can't just toss a rock at it to damage it. You have to really forcefully throw something at it."
Police are investigating and will review tape from the surveillance cameras onsite. Korinek hopes the community will be more vigilant as well.
He said Hamilton Solar, who installed the panels, will replace the two panels for free because of the rarity of the situation.
"They haven't seen damage like this on any of the fields they've done in Nevada," Korinek said. "That kind of says something negative about our community."
The panels are part of a 60,000-square-foot array installed in June at the school. Although the system still is operating, it is less efficient with the destroyed panels.
"This is a 300 kilowatt system," Korinek said. "We're putting out 272."
Seeliger's is one of five solar arrays - 195,000 square feet - planned throughout the district. The entire project will cost $11 million, but with a $9.75 million rebate from NV Energy, the district will pay $1.25 million.
The school district estimates it will save $400,000 in energy costs annually once the arrays are completed.
Korinek is asking anyone with information about the vandalism to call him at 283-2175.