- California’s Poway Unified School District is installing solar photovoltaic systems on movable classrooms at 16 schools, which is expected to cut electricity costs by 13% at no out-of-pocket cost to the district.
- Alta Energy announced the project along with news of an acquisition of Sovereign Modular, which provides solar energy solutions to California public schools, and the company said it would take over a power purchase agreement and 20-year contract that should save Poway more than $5 million.
- Permitting solar system installation has presented a barrier to some schools, but Alta reports it will offer standardized, fast-track permitting, which can help schools realize savings presented by solar energy as well as more favorable utility rates that come with installing photovoltaic systems on even a couple of portable classrooms.
When schools turn to renewable energy it can impact students in multiple ways. First, it creates cost savings that can be directed elsewhere in district operations. And second, it creates learning opportunities. Schools that have installed photovoltaic systems on their buildings have tracked energy collection with students and given them a front-row seat to the benefits of alternative energy.
Not all districts have access to some of the incentives in California for purchasing solar energy systems. Still, teachers and administrators can apply for grants from nonprofits or federal agencies. The power purchase agreement is supposed to reduce Poway’s out-of-pocket costs to zero. With grant dollars, other schools can achieve similar results.