Mount Diablo Unified School District and SunPower Corp. have partnered to complete 40 SunPower solar power systems for district schools and facilities. When the total number of 51 systems is complete later this year, the systems are expected to reduce the district's electricity costs by more than $3 million per year, and save $220 million over the next 30 years. With a cumulative capacity of 12.1 megawatts, the project is creating more than 140 jobs during construction and injecting almost $24 million into the regional economy through the use of local subcontractors and suppliers.
"With this project, we will eliminate 92 percent of electrical cost from our general fund in the first year alone and generate additional financial resources from the California Solar Initiative," says School Board Member Gary Eberhart. "This will help preserve desperately needed financial resources for our schools and classrooms."
SunPower is installing the system on rooftops and shade structures in parking lots and hard court areas. The systems use high efficiency solar panels manufactured locally in Milpitas, California. All systems are expected to be complete and operational before the end of the year.
According to estimates provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mount Diablo Unified's solar power systems will avoid production of almost 400,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the next 30 years, the equivalent of removing 70,450 cars from California's highways.
SunPower is also providing resources to enhance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics curriculum beginning in the 2012-2013 academic year.
The school district's systems were financed through Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) secured under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, paid through a local, voter approved general obligation bond.