As Solar power continues to grow in our homes and into commercial buildings, our bay area education system is also making strides for greener living. The Campbell Union School District is looking to the sun to bring down its long-term energy costs. While educating more than 7,600 students, from preschool to eighth grade, the award-winning schools serve families from parts of Campbell, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, San Jose, Santa Clara, and Saratoga. It’s new solar incentive program will allow solar panels to be installed during the summer months. It’s plans to add 1.5 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity which will be installed at 12 of the district’s elementary and middle school sites as well as the corporation yard where school buses are kept, according to district deputy superintendent Jim Crawford.
The California Energy Commission awarded $7.5 million back in November to help execute a plan to help reduce energy costs for the long term. Campbell was one of three school districts to receive the interest free loan. Funds from the loan, are restricted to projects that help with conservation goals, like installing solar panels, which they estimate can save them $480,000 annually. The CEC has an abundance of energy efficiency programs for the state, as well as energy efficiency financing to help fund projects with proven energy savings plan.
With the south bay making strides to harness the power of the sun, the total solar project will produce 2.4 million kilowatt hours of energy. Solar panels will be installed on rooftops of the campuses, and four schools will have panels placed on shade structures. The solar systems at each school are sized to offset approximately 70 percent of the current electricity usage. The sites will also be net-metered, so any excess energy stored will be sent back to the grid, and net metering will take into affect for the district to receive any credit back from PG&E.
Jim Crawford, the district deputy superintendent, states, “We’ve been looking at a project like this for a while, seventy percent of our power needs will be met. The district is committed to providing the best learning environment for our students. As much as that takes place inside the classroom, it also includes the health of our facilities and operating budget. These installations help us keep the focus of our spending on the students and their learning by freeing up money spent on energy for other purposes.”
He plans to also implement a LED bulb conversion program, to help additionally cut costs by another 10%, which is funded through another grant. If you think this is a good idea for your local schools to take part in, visit the CEC and read more on Energy Efficiency. For more info on solar for your home or school, contact one of our helpful representatives and Get a FREE Quote Today!