Gallery: Solar Powered Schools in California Will Save the State $1.5 B...


Cash-strapped California is in the midst of a Solar Schools initiative that will help the state save over $1.5 billion in energy costs over the next 30 years. In partnership with SunPower, the California Solar Schools program helps K-12 and higher education institutions across the state take advantage of local solar subsidies that will partially fund the installation of solar panels on their buildings. In addition to helping the schools onto the clean energy boat, the initiative aims to teach kids in those schools about professions in the renewable energy sector.

The solar panels that are installed as part of the Solar Schools program are all equipped with high tech monitoring systems so that children in that school can learn about how the solar panels collect energy throughout the day. “Whether it be a 1 kW solar panel on a pole, or a roof-mounted system on a non-profit building, each is hooked up to an online data monitoring system so that the community can view the energy production of the system and learn about the environmental impact of that system,” the California Solar School’s website says.

Over the next year, SunPower aims to install 90 solar arrays at schools across the state as part of the program. In the San Ramon Valley Unified School District there will be five new solar arrays that will account for nearly 80% of each school’s power requirements. In the first year alone the San Ramon Valley Unified School District will save a whopping $2 million in energy costs. This program all comes thanks to the Foundation for Environmental Education a non-profit that is seeking to build the next generation of thinkers who will carry the renewable energy torch far into the future.

Via Energy Matters


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  1. Nicholsp August 9, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    The article mentions ”
    each is hooked up to an online data monitoring system so that the community can view the energy production”. If the system is really open to the community, is it possible to see the link. Here is the link to our Solarschool community If I show you mine, will you show us yours?

  2. Metro August 7, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    My big problem with this type of proposal is that the cost of maintenance of the system is ignored when doing the ROI evaluation. There is no way you can convince me that the system will function for 30 years as it does on day 1. Panels fail. The panels need to be cleaned to maintain their efficiency. The system needs to be monitored. Other system failures need to be resolved. This all costs money. In addition, while the system is down, it is not generating the income (power) that is used to justify the expense of installation.

    In addition, this technology is changing extremely fast. Is it reasonable to evaluate the ROI of the system over 30 year when it may be obsolete in 5 year?

    I am all for solar power. However, the expenses need to be realistically understood. It is unreasonable to factor the cost of the system over 30 year.

  3. msyin July 29, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    This one is a no brainer that is long overdue. I would like to hear if other states are going to follow the lead of California even if they are not a cash strapped state. Here in Georgia I cringe when I see a new High School that was built without a solar panel and then wonder what other energy saving tech. was not used that would bring the running cost of the school down and be an example to the community they are in.

    I am glad someone somewhere is doing it, just always seems to be Cali!

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