Solar energy is now electrifying 15, K-12 schools in South San Francisco’s Unified School District. Combined with energy efficiency retrofits, the district will save $20 million in utility bills over 25 years.
Solar panels are on elementary, middle, and high schools across the district, producing a total 1.68 megawatts (MW). That will cut its fossil fuel use in half.
In 2010, voters approved a $162 million bond to improve school infrastructure and enhance the learning environment.
The project has also dramatically improved the classroom learning environment through the integration of advanced, high-performing energy efficient technologies. It also created 100 local green jobs.
Chevron Energy Solutions, the big oil company that’s also a solar installer, designed the system. The company says it collaborates with school districts across the country to design and implement science curriculum that integrates with the renewable and energy efficiency systems it installs.
Energy retrofits for the school system include: lighting, irrigation, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, which will improve aesthetics and air quality, and lower maintenance costs.
Chevron will also provide professional development for teachers, curriculum materials and hands-on experiments aligned with state standards to help create a living laboratory that promotes environmental awareness and energy consciousness.
Recently, Chevron completed a similar solar system for California’s Oak Grove School District near San Jose – a 1.8 MW on four schools and the district office. It will generate up to 90% of the district’s electricity, while saving $13 million in energy costs over the life of the project.
“The savings being generated can now be reinvested into our classrooms where it belongs,” says Chris Jew, Acting Superintendent for Oak Grove School District.