The Escalon (Calif.) Unified School District has completed installation of a 1.2 megawatt solar array as part of integrated energy efficiency and STEM education initiative.
The district and its energy partner, ENGIE Services U.S., say in a news release that the program is expected to generate $15.3 million a year in energy savings. That equates to an 85 percent reduction in district electricity costs, the district says.
The renewable energy generated by the solar panels are projected to offset 1,628 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in the first year—the equivalent to removing 349 cars from the road.
Escalon is about 25 miles southeast of Stockton.
In addition to the solar panels, the energy improvements include exterior lighting upgrades, a pool pump replacement, and HVAC upgrades.
Superintendent Ron Costa says the solar units, half of which are ground-mounted, have been installed at six campuses. The shade canopy arrays at Escalon High School and the district office also double as parking structure covers, which protect students and vehicles from the sun.
Together, all six solar arrays have the capacity to produce 2 million kilowatt hours of energy in the first year of program—the equivalent of enough clean energy to power more than 160 local homes in Escalon for one year.
"Leveraging clean energy that is paid from savings allows Escalon to redirect our energy savings costs to support other mission-critical initiatives that help students prepare for STEM and sustainability careers of the future," Costa says.