High School Parking Lot Generates Solar Power in Silicon Valley
In the Cupertino High School parking lot lies a solar panel array that turns the 53-year-old school into a small energy hub. The school in west Silicon Valley, just a short hop from Cupertino’s HP campus (soon to be Apple’s new headquarters), now provides electricity that the local high school district claims can save the district US$1 million in operating costs annually. A 2008 bond that was approved by 67% of local residents (or by the skin of its teeth, as such measures require two-thirds of voters’ approval) allowed for the solar array’s construction. Some locals clench their teeth when the subject comes up as the project required just another bond that will take years to pay off. Nevertheless, if oil prices continue to spike, clean energy initiatives like these will be seen as a long-term investment, not pretty make-do work projects.
Hopefully the school benefits go far beyond revenues. I cannot think of a better way to educate students about
clean energy than having it a few steps away from the classrooms--students can learn about everything from science and engineering to sustainability to politics. Hopefully that opportunity is more than seized upon. School gardens are nice--living lessons on infrastructure that can translate into a bright future are far better.
Speaking of Cupertino High School . . .
Before Glee’s Will Shuster and Richard Dreyfuss’ Mr. Holland’s Opus, there was Robert Gomez, Cupertino’s Music Director whose four-decade career had an enormous impact on countless students in the west San Jose area. His retirement was too short and Mr. Gomez passed away in 2009, but he lives on with the Robert Gomez Center near the corner of Stevens Creek Boulevard and Finch Avenue.