Solana Beach-based Amsolar Corp. said June 8 that it plans to install 23,000 solar panels at 20 schools in the San Diego Unified School District. The project will generate 5 megawatts of electricity — enough to serve 64 percent of the school sites’ needs.

Amsolar will own, operate and maintain the system, selling the electricity to the schools under a power purchase agreement. Bill Kowba, the school district’s superintendent, said in a statement that the construction will require no taxpayer money.

The costs of the project were not immediately available, nor were the financial terms of the power purchase agreement.

Amsolar expects to break ground on the project in the summer. The panels will go on 80 rooftops. Amsolar will also install solar carports at six sites.

Once built, the system will be the second largest solar system in the California schools. As far as power generation is concerned, however, 5 megawatts is small compared with what is generated through conventional power sources. Carlsbad’s Encina power plant, aka Cabrillo I, produces 965 megawatts of electricity using oil and natural gas. NRG Energy Inc. owns the plant.

The solar initiative is not the first at the city schools. The new development will supplement 4.17 megawatts of solar power generated at 28 sites in the school district.

— Brad Graves