Solar panel project prompts community action in San Juan

Aromas-SJ Board expected to vote on scope of work May 23

The proposed solar panel installation project at San Juan School shows where the panels would be placed in the field.

A solar panel installation project planned for San Juan School has caused a stir among some students and parents, according to one former Aromas-San Juan Unified School District Trustee.

Jose Flores, who has two children attending San Juan School, believes the current school board is not hearing the community’s concerns about placing the solar panels on the same field used by students for recess and other outdoor activities.

“We are not against the solar panel project. We are against putting the panels on the ground in the field,” said Flores, whose children started an opposition petition and were able to gather 151 signatures from fellow students and San Juan School staff. “The panels are going to be on the field and take a good section away from the kids using the field.”

Flores submitted the petition to the school board prior to its vote to approve a $358,600 contract with Engie Services U.S. Inc for the installation of solar panels at Anzar High School (2000 San Juan Highway in San Juan Bautista), Aromas School (365 Vega Street in Aromas) and San Juan School (100 Nyland Drive in San Juan Bautista).

At Anzar and Aromas the solar panels will be located in parking lots, not in a playing field as proposed at San Juan School.

A facilities committee on May 14 discussed the San Juan portion of the energy conservation project with more input from community members. The Aromas-San Juan school board was expected to choose between three options for San Juan School, as well as two choices for Anzar High School, at its May 23 meeting.

At San Juan, two of the options were to install “approximately 650 linear feet of permanent perimeter chain link fencing to the east, west and south, six fee in height, around the solar PV installation, which will tie to the existing fence to the north,” according to the contract. The project also calls for the removal of “two medium- to large-size trees along the edge of the existing fence.”

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