CONCORD -- The Mt. Diablo school board Tuesday approved a $65.6 million contract with SunPower Corporation for an 11.2 megawatt solar system expected to be the second largest K-12 project in the nation, behind Los Angeles.

District staff will meet with principals to review plans for photovoltaic panels atop carports and shade structures at 51 schools and other district-owned buildings, said Pete Pedersen, the consultant overseeing the project. The work will be done in three phases, with 17 sites each, according to the contract.

Sites in Concord and Bay Point will be the first to receive the solar panels, between June and October 2011. The second phase -- to be constructed from September 2011 to February 2012 -- will include more Concord schools, along with those in Walnut Creek and Clayton.

The final phase will include additional schools in Concord, as well as campuses in Martinez and Pleasant Hill. The district expects the entire project to be completed by April 2012.

After that, it expects to save about $192.5 million in electricity costs over 30 years.

Trustees also unanimously approved a contract for nearly $550,000 with Smith, Faus and McDonald to design Internet upgrades for schools to be funded with proceeds from the $348 million Measure C bond voters approved in June. This bond measure is also funding the solar project.

In addition, the board reviewed a proposal to name a softball field at Olympic High in honor of retired teacher Ron Redding. Trustees expect to approve the plan at their next meeting.

The Nov. 9 meeting will be rescheduled to Nov. 17, said board President Paul Strange.

Finally, Strange adjourned the meeting in memory of John Joseph Donovan Jr. and James Jones, who both died recently. Donovan was a founding principal of Olympic High School in Concord and Jones was the business agent for the Public Employees Local 1 union, which represents many non-teaching workers in the district.

This story will be updated Wednesday.