Solar array to be installed at Carrisa Plains Elementary School

First Solar will install a solar array at Carrisa Plains Elementary School in California Valley during winter break.

Work at the south end of the campus is scheduled to begin Wednesday and be largely completed by Jan. 9, a day before students return to school.

In June, the Atascadero Unified School District Board of Trustees unanimously accepted a donation from the Tempe, Ariz., manufacturer of a 30-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system. It’s valued at approximately $210,000.

School board President George Galvan said the solar array would reduce utility costs for the district, which pays about $12,000 a year to power the remote school.

“Anything we can do to save money is worth it,” Galvan said, adding that the solar array will also have an educational component.

In November, First Solar began construction on the 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farm in the Carrizo Plain. Once complete, the sprawling photovoltaic facility will produce enough power for some 160,000 average homes.

Meanwhile, SunPower Corp. began building its 250-megawatt California Valley Solar Ranch at the end of September.