Construction began recently on a $52 million, 9.6 megawatt photovoltaic design-build project for the Antelope Valley Union High School District (AVUHSD) in Lancaster, Calif.  

The solar panel design is interesting. It's made of steel-frame canopies to support solar panels that provide shaded parking for about 4,000 faculty and student vehicles. So it's win-win — students and teachers get a shaded parking lot, while the campus utilizes the power generated by the 41,000 photovoltaic panels that cover the parking lot.  

The solar panels will substantially decrease AVUHSD's electrical costs, and over the next 20 years they will reduce the district's greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 250,000 tons. The solar project is engineered to produce clean, green energy for more than 80 percent of the school district’s electrical needs. Over the next 20 years, the school district is projected to generate a savings of more than $40 million in energy costs.

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