California-based PV installer SolarCity has announced plans to install 3,900 PV modules at four district schools within the Woodland Joint Unified School District in California.
The PV systems will be installed at the Freeman, Plainfield and Zamora elementary schools and at the Pioneer high school, and will have a combined capacity of 924kW.
SolarCity will bear the cost of the installation and provide free maintenance and ongoing monitoring of the systems when complete.
The Woodland Joint Unified School District will buy the electricity generated from the PV systems under a 20-year power purchase agreement. In doing so, the PV arrays are expected to help the district to save around US$75,000 in utility bills in the first year of operation, and more than US$910,000 over the lifetime of the arrays. The savings will help the district to maximise funds available for educational programmes and support services.
The Woodland Joint Unified School District remains committed to reducing its energy consumption. In the past four years, it has decreased its energy consumption by over 30%. Rob Hutchinson, District Energy Education Specialist said: “Woodland Joint Unified School District views energy efficiency as a top priority with environmental, economic and ultimately educational benefits.”
In addition to providing cost savings, the PV systems will act as an educational tool providing students with first hand demonstrations of how solar technology works as well as the benefits of solar energy. Furthermore, students will have access to SolarCity’s Internet-based monitoring programme PowerGuide which allows customers to track in real-time how much power the PV systems are generating and how much electricity their schools are using.
SolarCity has completed or undertaken more than 200 solar projects for educational institutes across the US. Most recently, it installed PV arrays at nine schools in California as well as 26 schools in Los Angeles.