New solar panels atop Oceanside Elementary School are just one of the changes made during maintenance and work at School District 69 (Qualicum) over the summer. — FortisBC Photo

More light energy after summer school work in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Oceanside Elementary’s solar array one of many summer projects

Oceanside Elementary students may glimpse a change to their school’s roof as they return to class next week.

The school has 137 solar panels atop its roof, installed this summer. The 50kW rooftop array consists of 365W Trina Solar modules, and is the largest array the school district has installed to date, according to an operations and maintenance department summer work report presented by operations and maintenance manager Chris Dempster to School District 69 (Qualicum) during its Aug. 28 board meeting.

The cost of the solar project was about $140,000, said Dempster.

“The cost savings are averaged over the 35-year life of the solar (array),” he said. “We expect that the payback (the time it takes for the system to pay for itself) will take 15-16 years which gives us 20 plus years before the panels get to their lifecycle end.”

The district also took on a variety of other work projects over the summer.

Those include the removal of trees, stumps and brush at Errington Elementary to make way for a parking lot; repaving the front of Bowser Elementary to address parking issues; the drilling of a new well/pump for field use with a completion date of Oct. 30, 2018; reworking the back area of Qualicum Beach Elementary to extend the playground; a high-efficiency boiler upgrade for Springwood Elementary; removal of 70 per cent of the worn asbestos hallway flooring; roof work to Ballenas Secondary School, new insulation and a seismic upgrade, and much more.

— NEWS Staff

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