The San Jose (Calif.) Unified School District has completed what is believed to be the largest K-12 solar and energy efficiency project in the United States.
The district has installed a total of 5.5 megawatts of solar power at 14 district sites. That is expected to reduce district energy costs by more than 30 percent and save more than $25 million over the 25-year life of the project.
San Jose Unified's use of solar energy is expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 100,000 metric tons, equivalent to planting more than 1,400 acres of trees. In addition to the solar panels, the district will install interactive kiosks so that students can learn firsthand about energy use and the solar power generated on their campuses.
Chevron Energy Solutions built and operates the solar photovoltaic arrays and provides maintenance for them. Bank of America owns the solar equipment and sells power to the district under a service contract at set rates significantly below market utility rates. The California Solar Initiative and other incentives offset the overall cost of the program by more than $11 million.