PALO ALTO (KPIX) — A Peninsula school district is drawing heat from neighbors for installing large new solar panels on school campuses.
The solar panels are massive. Seen in video taken by Sky Drone 5, the panels span part or all of three homes along the backside of Nixon Elementary School in Palo Alto.READ MORE: California Drought: Healdsburg Bans Sprinklers; Sets Personal Water Use To 74 Gallons A Day
Neighbors told KPIX they didn’t know they were being added to the schoolyard until construction began in mid-June.
“The big objection is that the school board did not notify people affected by this program,” said neighbor Richard Cottle.
Palo Alto Unified School District’s new Superintendent Don Austin didn’t want to talk on camera about the solar panels. He noted that the project was already underway when he first started the job in July. But he did acknowledge that the efforts to notify neighbors were inadequate.READ MORE: 3-Alarm Fire Burns 2 Buildings at West Oakland Recycling Center
The district has installed solar panels at five schools with plans for another installation at a sixth.
So far, only neighbors at Nixon and Earby Escondido elementary schools have voiced concerns.
“What they’d prefer is to have the structure moved to a more suitable location,” said Cottle. “They were never given the opportunity to make suggestions about which locations in the school yard would be acceptable.”MORE NEWS: Update: One Killed, Two Injured When Truck Crashes Into Diners at San Jose Sports Bar
Superintendent Austin said the district is committed to working with homeowners to find a solution short of pulling the plug on the solar power program estimated to save the school system more than a half million dollars.