Monday, April 23, 2012

15 Schools Solar Up In Single California District

While school districts in many areas of the country face difficulties in passing bonds to fix crumbling schools, in California, the residents of San Mateo County have stepped out ahead with Measure J. And this isn’t your typical building improvement bond measure—it comes with funding for what’s said to be the largest K-12 solar and energy efficiency program in the very green county, encompassing 15 elementary, middle and high school sites in the South San Francisco Unified School District.

All told, these solar power systems are expected to add up to 1.68 megawatts of generating capacity, cutting the district’s annual electrical usage in half and reducing its carbon emissions by more than 1,500 metric tons, the equivalent of planting 330 acres of pine. This should prove a boon to taxpayers, too; over the next 25 years, the solar installations are expected to help the district save around $20 million in utility bills.

Measure J, approved by voters in November 2010, raised $162 million to improve school infrastructure and enhance the student learning environment. One of the goals central to the bond was to improve the classroom learning environment through the integration of advanced technologies, which the solar power project fulfills by bringing “high-performing energy efficient technologies” into the classroom.

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