Arroyo Goes Green


Alicia Naranjo-Champion, News Editor

Solar paneled car structures have been built at multiple schools in the district to help the environment and save money. The structures which are either complete, currently under construction or still in the developing phase will benefit the schools involved in the project in numerous ways.

The solar panels are a result of the El Monte Union High School District’s “decision to start going with energy efficiency,” explained Angelita Gonzales, Principal. The district started moving in that direction about a year ago when charging stations for electric cars were put in. Gonzales said the solar panels were the next step in moving towards renewable energy.

El Monte- Rosemead Adult School was the first site in the district to receive solar panels. The adult school is the only site that has solar panels directly on the roof while the other sites have solar shaded car structures. These schools include Arroyo, Rosemead, South El Monte, and Mountain View High Schools.

The solar shaded car structures have numerous benefits for the community said Shawn Cun, energy manager for the district. “The first is lowering emissions and lower emissions increase the quality of the air in the area,” explained Cun.

Both the community and the environment will further benefit from this project.  Solar energy reduces air pollution, water pollution and is renewable meaning “it will never run out as long as the sun continues to shine,” explained Lorenzo Rosas, Journeyman Wireman Local 11 (who worked on the wiring for the project).

Rosas goes on to explain that students and faculty members who use the school’s parking lots will now be seeing benefits for their cars. “The project will protect vehicles from sun damage and high temperatures,” said Rosas.

Another advantage to having the solar panels is that in the long run, the district will be saving money.  “It [the solar panel project] helps to reduce the utility budget. Any electricity that we produce using solar panels directly lowers our utility budget,” said Cun. The district is borrowing money for this project. The funds that come out of the utility budget will go towards paying back that loan. As soon as the loan is paid off, “It [the project] should save about 6 to 7 million dollars over the course of 30 years,” explained Cun.

An additional benefit would be the lights that are under the structures. This will be an added safety measure for students and teachers who stay after school, especially now with daylight savings time. “When we had our football game… the lights went on underneath so it was more secure,” explained Gonzales. The school had lighting before but “this is brighter, more secure,” said Gonzales.

The project will benefit the community, environment, the school and as Rosas said, “this work … benefits all of us as a whole.”