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California District Launches Solar Installation To Save $2.4 Million Annually

California's Clovis Unified School District (CUSD) has completed the first phase of a solar photovoltaic system that will span 21 sites and save the district an estimated $2.4 million each year.

Scheduled for completion in four phases by December 2013, the system will total 5.86 megawatts and will provide playground and parking lot shade at district sites.

Designed and constructed by Cupertino Electric, initial installations include systems at Clovis, Fugman, Nelson, Riverview, and Mountain View elementary schools.

In an effort to optimize savings, CUSD determined which sites had the lowest annual usage as those sites pay the most for each kilowatt-hour. Next, the district determined the potential "avoided cost" associated with installing systems at each site and ranked them accordingly. Finally, factors such as safety concerns, shade, proximity to the energy meter, and construction cost for each site were taken into consideration.

The next phase of installations will include construction at Clovis West High School, a professional development building, and Fancher Creek, Fort Washington, Pinedale, and Weldon elementary schools.

Ongoing management of the system, which will be capable of producing approximately 8.4 million kilowatt-hours per year, will be provided by TerraVerde Renewable Parters.

For a complete list of CUSD schools adding solar projects, visit

The Clovis Unified School District serves nearly 39,000 students with a staff of approximately 5,000 employees. CUSD comprises 32 elementary schools, five high schools, five middle schools, six alternative campuses, and one adult school. 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].