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California School District Cuts Energy Costs With Solar

San Dieguito Union High School District in California has completed a 2 megawatt solar project that is expected to save $10 million over the life of the installation.

The roughly $13 million cost of the project was offset by a rebate of more than $4.7 million from the California Solar Initiative and paid for with bonds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The ARRA is a 2009 law that provides funding directly to local school districts for infrastructure development and enhancement. The district will pay off the low-interest loans over 17 years, according to representatives.

The installation, which was built over student parking lots, will produce about 70 percent of the electricity for Canyon Crest Academy and La Costa Canyon High School and will cut carbon emissions by an estimated 2,200 metric tons.

The project was designed and built by Chevron Energy Solutions, who will also operate, maintain and guarantee the system for the district.

"This project is a terrific example of how solar panels can be integrated in parking lots with the installation supplying both electrical for the school and shading to protect the students' cars from the effects of weathering and sunlight," said Irene Stillings, executive director of the California Center for Sustainable Energy.

About the Author

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