Park to install solar panels on school roofs

The district moves forward with the project


Anna Benishek

The district is moving forward with the plan to put solar panels on every roof of St. Louis Park public schools. The solar panels are still in the design phase but the schools need to be re-roofed before putting the solar panels on them.

Aiden Cullumber

St. Louis Park is currently moving forward with their plan to install solar panels on the roof of every school in the district.

According to facilities manager Tom Bravo, the panels are still in the design phase. However, before they can be installed, the district needs to re-roof the school buildings so the panels will last longer.

“We requested from the school board and they approved to re-roof 80% of our roof so that we don’t have to go back and pull the panels off in five or seven years. Once those panels go on the roof, the plan is to keep them touch free. In a sense, all you do is maintenance for 15 to 20 years and not worry about replacing our roof,” Bravo said.

Bravo said if all goes well, the solar panels will be installed next year at PSI and the High School.

“We finished half of our roofs that we were going to do this summer, we had a lot of roofing projects here. Next summer, we’ll finish the other half,” Bravo said. “Also next summer, if the state approves it, we’ll start to install solar panels on the roofs that we completed this summer. By a year from now, you should be seeing solar panels on PSI (Park Spanish Immersion) elementary school and our high school.”

Roots and Shoots club president Zoe Frank said they originally proposed the idea of solar panels to the district.

“For the past couple of years, we kept bringing back plans to propose solar panels to the superintendent and facilities manager and other offices,” Frank said. “Everybody was always on board with the idea and supported sustainable energy sources.”

Frank said Roots and Shoots will continue to monitor the project until it is completed to make sure that the district keeps its word.

“Roots and Shoots is going to oversee progress and continue to hold the school board accountable for maintaining or sticking to the goals of the climate leadership resolution,” Frank said. “But with the solar panels themselves, that is a bit out of our hands right now as they’re going to get constructed and maintained by experts, so it will just be more of somebody to hold the people in actual school accountable.”

According to Bravo, The solar panels are expected to account for half of the school’s energy use after installation.