Going green: PSD celebrates phase one of solar power initiative

Mayor Jim Leford joins Palmdale School District officials in signing a solar panel, which will be framed and displayed in Los Amigos school.

PALMDALE – A ribbon cutting ceremony at Los Amigos School Thursday signified the phase one completion of Palmdale School District’s solar power initiative, a project expected to lessen the carbon footprint in the Antelope Valley and save the district more than $20 million under a power purchase agreement between the district and PsomasFMG.

The solar panels, installed on 18 sites throughout The Palmdale School District, will save millions in utility costs.

“We have put solar panels on 18 of our 24 sites to replace the current electricity system that we have with a green electricity system,” said Superintendent Roger Gallizzi, adding that everything will be completed at all the schools in a few weeks.

“For us to take advantage of this is very natural,” said Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford. “It shows our young people their future is really working with what is natural, whether it is sustainability and energy, or sustainability in our culture and how we develop and interact with each other.”

Al Tsai, maintenance operations administrator, said the project was a triple win for PsomasFMG and the Palmdale School District.

“At our end we win by buying the power generated only by the panels,” Tsai said. “The second win is that we now have a beautiful shade structure in our parking lots and … for PsomasFMG it gave them the opportunity to install these panels and to invest some money which will then in turn pay off their investors.”

Tracy Kwiker, PsomasFMG Palmdale project manager, said she was inspired after seeing this quote on the Palmdale School District chief business officer’s wall: “Somebody needs you. On your worst day on the job, you are still some child’s best hope.”

“We at PsomasFMG embrace that concept,” Kwiker said. “I could not be more proud to participate in a project that will do just that; give your children hope.”

Shadow Hills Band performed at the Palmdale School District's solar project celebration.

She said that the district will save millions of dollars, which can be funneled back for the kids, for the teachers, and for the classrooms. It will also make an impact on the earth, Kwiker added.

“In the time that the panels are up, an equivalent of 260 million car miles will be taken off the road,” she said. “That is making a real difference in improving the air quality in this district and the air quality on our planet.”

Kathryn MacLaren, Planning Commissioner for the City of Palmdale, came out to support the project.

“It’s wonderful to see this new energy project going here,” she said. “I think it’s a definite way to cut costs, especially when money has been taken out of the budget for schools and what they need. This will certainly help, and it’s a great idea.”

Through a public private partnership with the Palmdale School District, PsomasFMG is installing a solar power system at 18 school sites. The three-phase project includes installation of 25,536 photovoltaic panels that are mounted atop steel-frame canopies that will provide shaded parking for 1,625 vehicles.