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Los Angeles USD To Save $25 Million with Solar Power

The Los Angeles Unified School District has recently gone public with its decision to install solar power systems at 26 schools to save $25 million over 20 years.

Seventeen schools have already added the systems, with nine more slated to come online in the first half of 2013. Once completed, the 7.4-megawatt (MW) project will save the district $776,000 in the first year.

The systems will lower electricity transmission costs and provide the school with clean energy during peak production hours. Each school's system will also feature a "solar walking tour" with signs, infographics, and project descriptions designed to allow students "to follow the solar electricity from the photovoltaic panels through the various electrical components and finally back to the classroom, where students can view the school’s real-time energy production," as well as a solar demonstration kit, according to information released by SolarCity, the company installing the systems.

LAUSD schools with completed solar systems include Byrd Middle School, East Valley Middle School No. 2, Gage Middle School, Narbonne High School, Reseda High School, Southeast Middle School, Southeast High School, South Gate High School, South Region Elementary School No. 5, South Region Elementary School No. 10, South Region Elementary School No. 9, South Regional High School No. 9, Southeast Area New Learning Center, Valley Region Elementary School No. 10, Valley Region Hesby Span K, and White Middle School.

In related news, the Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District has re-launched music instruction using funds obtained through savings generated through solar projects at three of its five schools.

Totaling nearly 1 MW, the systems were installed by SolarCity at Firebaugh High School, Firebaugh Middle School, and Hazel Bailey Elementary School.

The district eliminated music instruction for grades 6-12 in 2009 owing to a lack of funds. Since installing the new solar systems, which will save the district more than $900,000 in their first year, music instruction was reinstated for students in grades 4-12.

"Solar energy projects for public schools are essentially revenue enhancements for school districts, which directly benefit the students and taxpayers," said Russell Freitas, superintendent of Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District. "During these past ten years, school districts have experienced the most difficult financial times and because of the savings this solar project has created, we are able to bring music instruction back to the district."

Students will also have access to PowerGuide, SolarCity's Web-based solar production monitoring tool.

Located in Fresno County, CA, Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District enrolls approximately 2,200 students at five schools and a community day school.

The Los Angeles Unified School District serves more than 640,000 students at more than 900 schools and 187 public charter schools.

More information about SolarCity is available at solarcity.com.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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