A plan for solar carports to be installed at the faculty parking lot at Agoura High School and the western end of Calabasas High will never see the light of day.
The voted unanimously in opposition to the plan Tuesday, which would have committed the school district to a 20-year agreement with Borrego Solar Systems Inc.
A handful of Old Agoura residents took to the podium in opposition to the plan, citing mostly aesthetic concerns.
“We were told we would own this equipment in 20 years, but we all know it will be obsolete in half that time,” said Larry Brown, longtime Agoura Hills resident, to the board. “… The real people who have bothered to educate themselves on this project I think want you to reject it because it’s not financially, practically or aesthetically justified.”
Borrego Solar would have installed the carports for free and sold electricity back to the schools at a fixed rate of 19 cents a kilowatt. Combined together, the solar carports from each of the two schools would have saved the district around $33,000 a year based on estimates on the rising cost of energy, provided by district staff. The Agoura Hills carport would have required the cutting down of several large trees.
Agoura Hills resident June Slayton said it’s obvious that whoever presented the list of pros and cons at the community meeting at Agoura High was in favor of this plan.
“If this happens, it would be offensive to the neighborhood and impossible to live with,” said Slayton to the board.
Slayton said unlike solar panels used in Taft High School, the panels at Agoura High would be in a residential and rural area. The community would be impacted both aesthetically and from the lights the solar carports would produce.
“In Old Agoura and Calabasas—these are residential and rural areas. I am sensitive to the aesthetic. ...I think the visual impact is out of place in these areas,” said Lesli Stein, school board vice president.
Adding these plans at a time when residents are concerned over the building of a performance center is not fair to the community based on the minimum savings of the proposal, said Stein.
Performance arts centers are currently being constructed at both schools, and the one at Calabasas High is near completion.
“We need to be good neighbors…. I will be voting down this project,” she said.
The majority of the school board voiced opposition to the plan also, citing the long term commitment, the small return on investment and “community upset.”
If built and installed for 30 years, the panels would have created the equivalent effect of removing 146 passenger vehicles from the road and planting 324 acres of trees in the area, according to a study presented at previous town hall meetings.