Monterey County Office of Education Flips Switch on Solar Power Project

The Monterey County Office of Education (MCOE), along with Chevron Energy Solutions, unveiled its solar power and energy efficiency project today during a briefing with the community at the MCOE headquarters located on Blanco Circle in Salinas.

Guests from as far as San Jose and Santa Cruz attended in an effort to learn how MCOE was able to reduce its overall energy demand by as much as 75 percent while yielding an expected savings of $2.2 million during the first 25 years of the project.

"We're harnessing the sun to support our schools. This project protects taxpayer dollars and allows us to maximize our investment in the future of the students we serve," said Dr. Nancy Kotowski, Monterey County Superintendent of Schools.

Monterey County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nancy Kotowski , the Monterey County Board of Education and Chevron Energy Solutions led the community in a 30-minute briefing that included praise from US Congressman Sam Farr and California State Assembly Member Luis Alejo, who both honored the district with resolutions highlighting the key benefits of the project.

The project broke ground in February of this year with minimal up-front capital investment. MCOE secured a solar rebate of nearly $500,000 from PG&E, as well as a federal grant of $881,000 to help offset the price per kilowatt hour. The additional funding ensured that the overall system price had minimal fiscal impact to the agency. While the 630-kilowatt solar canopy system is the most visual aspect of the project, the scope included public infrastructure improvements, including a new energy-efficient hot water boiler, a new energy management system to control lighting, and an HVAC and water system.