Woodland Joint Unified School District and SolarCity® today announced a plan to install more than 3,900 solar panels at four district schools. The district incurred no upfront costs for the project and is expected to save more than $70,000 in the systems' first year of operation, and more than $910,000 over their lifetime.
Photovoltaic arrays totaling 924 kilowatts will be installed at Freeman, Plainfield and Zamora Elementary Schools, and also at Pioneer High School. The systems will allow the district to pay less for solar electricity over the course of its 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) than it currently pays for utility power. SolarCity will provide free installation, maintenance and ongoing monitoring of the systems.
The district has decreased its energy consumption by more than 30 percent over the past four years, qualifying as a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star Leader Top Performer. The new solar arrays will eliminate over 49 million pounds of annual carbon dioxide emissions, which is the equivalent of planting more than 26,000 trees or taking more than 4,200 cars off the roads each year.
“Woodland Joint Unified School District views energy efficiency as a top priority with environmental, economic and ultimately educational benefits,” said Rob Hutchinson, District Energy Education Specialist. “Going solar is another giant step forward in decreasing our energy consumption, which maximizes the funds available for educational programs and support services.”
The solar installations will also provide students with firsthand demonstrations of how solar technology works, and of solar energy’s benefits. Students will have access to SolarCity’s web-based monitoring, PowerGuide®, which allows customers to track in real-time how much power their solar systems are generating and how much electricity their schools are using.