The Wm. S. Hart Union High School District is beginning construction on a 7.3 megawatt solar project that is estimated to save the District $18 – $20 million over the 20-year contract.
Up to 10 Hart District campuses are slated for installation of solar arrays that will provide 75 – 85% of the District’s historical energy consumption. Southern California Edison, the current supplier, will provide the additional electricity required. The first three schools, La Mesa, Rancho Pico and Rio Norte Junior High Schools began construction today.
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The district has entered into a Power Purchase Agreement with PsomasFMG, LLC that will provide installation, operations, monitoring and maintenance of the solar arrays at no cost to the District. The District has no upfront costs or capital investment for the solar system or maintenance. Third party ownership of the system, by outside investors, allows the District to realize immediate savings and budget more effectively because of predictable future energy costs.
The community will benefit from a reduction of more than 130,000 tons of carbon emissions over 20 years, which is equivalent to a reduction in automobile driving of over 300 million miles.
Up to 10 campuses within the Hart School District are participating in the installation, which includes the construction of steel-frame canopies to support solar panels and provide shaded parking for approximately 2,300 faculty and student vehicles plus ground mount solar arrays at a few campuses.
The aesthetically-designed solar structures will achieve the minimum visual impact while absorbing optimal amounts of sunlight. Schools were selected based on their ability to absorb direct sunlight without trees or other obstructions shading the structures. Cost-effective, state-of-the-art lighting will be mounted beneath the canopies for enhanced personal safety.
The next phase of schools will start in mid-December and will be announced in a few weeks. All systems are scheduled to be commissioned by spring 2012. Each school installation will take between 60-90 days and schools with parking lot installations will see temporarily reduced parking spaces for safety purposes during construction.
Parents and visitors to these schools should plan to allow extra time for student drop-off and pick-up during construction. The District apologizes for the short-term inconvenience so that students, staff and the community may enjoy the long-term benefits of this project.
The long-term savings in energy costs will be redirected to fund essential education programs and services that positively impact our quality academic and extracurricular programs.
For more information and all the schools participating, please visit: http://hartdistrict.org/index.php/solar-initiative.