California District Installs Solar Power at 21 Schools

Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) has completed the installation of solar power systems at 21 schools totaling 9.3 megawatts and capable of providing about 60 percent of the district's energy needs.

Solar shade structures were built at all 21 sites, while Mar Vista Middle School also added a ground-mounted system and Hilltop High School saw the installation of a roof-mounted system.

SunPower designed and built the installations and will operate and maintain them as part of a power purchase agreement between SUHSD and financiers. The school will buy the energy at a guaranteed rate and will also earn the renewable energy credits generated by the sites.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimated that "the SUHSD solar power systems will avoid production of more than 7,300 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, the equivalent of removing almost 30,000 cars from California's roads over the next 20 years," according to a news release.

"With proven, reliable SunPower technology, we are generating savings that the Sweetwater Union High School District can use to support our academic and enrichment programs," said Tim Glover, interim superintendent of SUHSD, in a prepared statement. "We're also supporting the development of more solar power installations in our region. It is the right thing to do for our students and our community."

Sweetwater Union High School District serves more than 41,000 students in grades 7-12 and 24,000 adult learners at 32 campuses in southern California. More information is available at

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].