The Soledad (Calif.) Unified School District has unveiled a solar panel project that is expected to save $10 million in energy costs over 25 years.
The Soledad Bee reports that the district has partnered with Engie Services to bring solar energy to its several school sites and district offices. Officials held a ceremonial "flip the switch" to commemorate the installation.
“Through our first solar site and the completion of our work across the district today, Soledad Unified School District aspires to serve as a model for other schools in the school district seeking a straightforward way to dramatically reduce energy costs and positively impact the environment,” School Board President Josie Perez-Aguilera says.
Leveraging two, zero-percent loans from the California Energy Commission, the district received $4.8 million in funding to start solar work at Soledad High School in late 2016. Installations at additional school sites were carried out through spring 2018.
With more than 3,000 solar panels across the district, Soledad will account for 68 percent of its electricity needs through solar production.
Solar panels will generate 1.78 million kilowatt hours of energy annually, Engie says in a news release. That is enough clean energy to power 143 homes for a year.
In the first year of the solar panel project the program is anticipating to offset 1,326 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in the air—the positive environmental equivalent to planting 34,000 trees a year
The Soledad district serves nearly 5,000 K-12 students.