SAN JOSE, USA: In a unanimous vote earlier this week, the San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD) board of education approved a contract with SunPower Corp. to install high efficiency solar power systems totaling more than 3 megawatts at six schools in the district.
The purchase of the systems will be financed using low interest Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCBs) available as a result of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The solar power generated by the systems is expected to offset an average of 80 percent of the electricity costs at each school, achieving an estimated savings of more than $2 million for the district in the first year.
"Our Board studied this carefully and was very thoughtful in its decision to bring a solar initiative into our district and to select SunPower as the provider," said District Superintendent Steve Enoch.
"We are confident that we are getting the most value over the minimum expected 25-year lifetime of these systems. We truly believe that we can maximize savings through these systems, while at the same time modeling thoughtful stewardship of our environment for our students and the community by producing clean, renewable solar power at our schools."
"The San Ramon Valley Unified School District is wisely leveraging funding provided by the federal government to deliver clean energy to their schools, while dramatically lowering long-term operational costs," said Bill Kelly, managing director at SunPower. "We are very pleased to work with the district, and congratulate them on their significant commitment to renewable, emission-free solar power."
At the six schools (including California High School, Dougherty Valley High School, Monte Vista High School, San Ramon Valley High School, Diablo Vista Middle School and Gale Ranch Middle School), SunPower will be installing solar carport tracking systems that provide shade as well as generate solar electric power.
SunPower E-Series solar panels, the most efficient solar panels commercially available, will be mounted on the trackers, which will follow the sun throughout the day, increasing sunlight capture over conventional fixed-tilt systems, while significantly reducing land use requirements.
The solar panels will be manufactured at SunPower's new panel manufacturing facility in Milpitas, Calif., less than one hour's drive from the district's schools. Construction will be complete by the end of next year.
SunPower will also be partnering with the district to provide lesson plans on energy, and use the systems as educational tools to help students understand solar power.
SunPower has more than 550 solar power systems in operation or under contract globally. In the last year in California, educational customers have included the Los Angeles Unified School District, University of California, Merced, and Mendocino College.