School solar structures again before city planners |

School solar structures again before city planners

Teri Vance

School officials will appear before city planners once again today seeking a permit to build solar panels at Eagle Valley Middle School.

On Tuesday, officials gave school board trustees an update on the process.

The Carson City School District received special-use permits at the Dec. 1 Carson City Planning Commission meeting to build photovoltaic structures over 60,000 square feet at both Seeliger Elementary and Carson Middle schools. However, an appeal was filed on the decision at Seeliger. It will be addressed at the Jan. 6 meeting of the Carson City Board of Supervisors.

Although the members of the commission voiced support of a similar plan at Eagle Valley Middle School, they agreed with neighbors that there may be a more appropriate location for them on that campus.

A decision was delayed, giving time for Mark Korinek, operations manager for the school district, and officials from Hamilton Solar, who will be installing the structure, to analyze the site.

They will present the findings to planning commissioners during today’s meeting.

About 20 people attended the meeting earlier this month, several of whom spoke out against the solar structures at Seeliger and Eagle Valley. There was no opposition to the plan at Carson Middle School, which would place solar panels atop parking structures.

Residents have written letters in regards to today’s meeting as well.

“As residents who would be directly impacted by the EVMS solar array project, we wish to go on record as adamantly opposed to the currently proposed location of the array,” wrote Diane and Dean Altus. “If the project goes through as currently planned, there most certainly will be degraded enjoyment of our home, compromise of our visual corridor, and diminished value of our property.”

However, Virgil and Barbara Flack wrote in support of the project.

“This project is good and a long time coming,” the letter stated. “Over the last 20 years, the school has been as good a neighbor as possible.”

The structures are part of a districtwide project to construct 195,000 square feet of solar panels at five schools. The nearly $11 million installation cost will be reduced to $975,000 after rebates from the power company, said Tony Turley, finance director for the Carson City School District.

He said a conservative estimate is that the school district would save $400,000 in energy costs annually.

To claim the rebate, the systems must be installed by July 20.

There also are plans for the photovoltaic structures at Carson High School and Fritsch Elementary School, however a special-use permit is not required for those.

The 100,000 square feet of structures will be installed in a five-acre lot zoned for agriculture use at the east end of the high school property behind the soccer fields. Fritsch’s solar panels will replace the existing shade structure at the bus drop-off in front of the school.

Also at the board meeting:

• Carson High School English teacher Cheryl Macy was recognized for being named Teacher of the Year by the Nevada Department of Education.

• A presentation of the auditors’ report showed the school district has complied with requirements and no instances of non-compliance were detected.