BARSTOW Henderson Elementary School will operate on all solar power by the end of the week, Barstow Unified School District Superintendent Jeff Malan said on Tuesday.

The elementary school and seven other BUSD campuses are retrofitting with the renewable energy source.

"Going solar will help us to provide the best possible education for our students by cutting energy costs to free up funds that can be used directly in our classrooms to assist the teaching and support staff," said Malan.

Cameron, Crestline, Henderson and Montara Elementary schools along with Barstow Junior High School, Barstow High School, Central High School and the Barstow District Office are among the eight facilities to be newly equipped.

The 1.5-megawatt solar power project is expected to save the district $112,000 in electricity spending in the first year and roughly $5.3 million over the next 20 years, according to a SolarCity news release.

SolarCity spokesman Will Craven said the California-based company has already completed projects on 250 California schools including several projects within Los Angeles Unified School District.

"Barstow Unified School District is proud to set an example of environmental leadership for our students and our community," Malan said.

Malan said the school district is counting on using their electricity savings to negate further budget reductions. Roughly three-fourths of BUSD's students qualify for free or low-cost meals, and district budget reserves have been strained due to ongoing statewide budget cuts. He said the school district would also greatly benefit from California's Net Metering program which credits solar energy users for any surplus energy produced.

"Essentially it's like your meter spins backwards," Malan said.

Students will have the opportunity to learn more about solar energy with classroom curriculum provided by SolarCity. Teachers and students will be able to directly access and see the energy production of the panels at each school through computers, according to Malan.

"It's a beautiful day; great for solar power," Malan said.

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