World-leading solar panel manufacturer SunPower has installed solar power systems at 92 California public schools (K-12). In 2012, the total savings from these solar power systems came to $5.6 million, SunPower announced this week at the California’s Coalition for Adequate School Housing (C.A.S.H.) annual conference in Sacramento.
“Over the next 25 years, SunPower solar power systems are expected to generate $140 million in school district savings that can be used to support and promote academic excellence. As a California company, with roots firmly in California education, it is extremely rewarding to deliver these valuable savings to our public schools,” said Howard Wenger, SunPower president, regions.
A couple decades ago, solar power was a far-off dream of environmentalists hoping to prevent catastrophic global warming and climate change. Today, the U.S. and global solar industries are maturing and growing fast, and solar is increasingly cost-competitive (even ignoring the extra fossil fuel health costs, or externalities, that cost our society a fortune). In a couple decades, when kids from these California schools are adults working to help the world, solar power should be ubiquitous.
If you’re familiar with California, or if you simply want to learn more, here are some more details from SunPower:
California school districts with SunPower systems include San Ramon Valley Unified, Porterville Unified and Oxnard Union High Schools. Mount Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) has SunPower systems operating at 51 schools, totaling 12.1 megawatts and representing the largest commitment to solar by a school district in the U.S. MDUSD estimates that its systems reduce the district’s electricity costs by more than $3 million per year.
In 2012, SunPower systems at California school districts have offset the production of almost 19,000 tons of carbon dioxide, according to estimates provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This is equivalent to removing 3,560 cars from California roads.
To date this year, SunPower was awarded two new contracts to build solar power systems on school campuses. Sweetwater Union High School District has increased its commitment to solar from six campuses with operational SunPower systems to 22 campuses, and Santa Ana Unified School District is planning SunPower systems at 10 schools.
Let’s hope that the installations continue, and even pick up in pace. We all need it. And it clearly benefits the participating schools and school districts (and, thus, local taxpayers).
“Mount Diablo Unified School District is eliminating a very significant amount of our electrical costs from the district’s general fund in the first year of our solar systems’ operation, generating additional financial resources that are needed for our schools and classrooms,” says Superintendent Steven Lawrence . “Saving our schools’ money while reducing emissions is the right thing to do for our students and the environment. We are very satisfied with our decision to team with SunPower to bring the largest K-12 solar project in the country to fruition.”
Learn more about SunPower’s solar schools program on the SunPower website.