Solar canopies in the San Dieguito Calif Union High School District have generated more than 44 million in energy savings over the past five years PRNewsFoto/OpTerra Energy Services

Solar canopies in the San Dieguito (Calif.) Union High School District have generated more than $4.4 million in energy savings over the past five years.

Solar panels save California district $4.4 million in energy costs

2 megawatt array is installed atop parking canopies at 2 high schools in the San Dieguito Union High School District.

Solar shade canopies at two high schools in the San Dieguito (Calif.) district have saved the school system more than $4.4 million in energy costs.

The solar panels, installed by OpTerra Energy Services atop covered parking structures at La Costa Canyon High School in CarlsbadĀ and Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego, have resulted in savings over five years that have surpassed projected amounts by more than $1.6 million.

The 2 megawatt solar array is projected save the school district more than $10.4 million over 15 years. The solar panels also are projected to provide the San Dieguito district with a source of revenue through the sale of Renewable Energy Certificates.

OpTerra designed and built the carport shade structures in 2010. It operates the system and guarantees the projected energy savings. Project costs were offset by a $4.7 million rebate from the California Solar Initiative and stimulus funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"The solar canopies have saved the district millions so far," says Superintendent Rick Schmitt. "And that money is put right back into the classroom. On top of that, students are able to witness firsthand how energy efficiency and sustainability affect each and every one of them."

The district says additions now under construction t Earl Warren Middle School will include a solar installation.

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