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Bay Area School District Nets $3 Million Yearly Savings with Solar Installation

A 51-school solar power system has been completed for the Mount Diablo Unified School District in the East San Francisco Bay area, resulting in an expected $3 million per year in energy cost savings for the district.

The 15-month project was managed by electrical contractor Del Monte Electric, which provided the entire electrical installation at the school sites from the AC tie in at the utility point of connection, through the underground electrical distribution, photo voltaic equipment installation, photovoltaic (PV) panel installation, and all other associated electrical work, according to a company release.

The installation included more than 28,000 PV panels on carports and rooftops throughout the district and more than 150 miles of wire. The system is expected to generate 12 megawatts of PV power each year.

The solar installation is intended to be a boon to both the district and the environment, with the system expected to cover 90 percent of the district's current energy expenditures and the Environmental Protection Agency projecting avoidance of 400,000 tons of emissions over the next 30 years thanks to the project.

The funding source for the $56 million project came from voter-approved Clean Renewable Energy Bonds.

Del Monte Electric was founded in 1938 and specializes in public and private projects that have aggressive schedules and require complex installations. For this project the company managed a construction crew of more than 100 people and trained the workforce on solar theory and installation practices.

Mount Diablo is one of the largest school districts in the state of California with more than 56 school sites and programs serving more than 36,000 K-12 students. The district covers 150 square miles of the suburban East San Francisco Bay Area, including the cities of Concord, Pleasant Hill, Clayton, and portions of Walnut Creek and Martinez, as well as unincorporated areas Lafayette, Pacheco, and Bay Point.

About the Author

Kevin Hudson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached at [email protected].