California District To Install Solar Power Systems in 6 Schools
San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD) of Danville, CA, will install solar energy systems in six of its schools over the next year for a total of 3 megawatts of power output. SunPower Corp., which contracted with the district to install the systems in four high schools and two middle schools, estimated they will save the district upwards of $2 million in utility costs in the first year alone.
The project will be funded using Qualified School Construction Bonds, low-interest bonds made available through the federal stimulus package of 2009. "Our Board studied this carefully and was very thoughtful in its decision to bring a solar initiative into our district and to select SunPower as the provider," said SRVUSD Superintendent Steve Enoch. "We are confident that we are getting the most value over the minimum expected 25-year lifetime of these systems. We truly believe that we can maximize savings through these systems, while at the same time modeling thoughtful stewardship of our environment for our students and the community by producing clean, renewable solar power at our schools."
The systems will consist of carport tracking systems, which follow the sun across the sky throughout the day, with SunPower E-Series solar panels mounted on the trackers. The moving trackers allow the panels to capture more sunlight and generate more energy than conventional fixed-panel systems.
The company will also work with the district to educate students on the science and social implications of solar energy, using the new systems as a real-world laboratory and helping teachers create lesson plans.
Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.