Clovis Unified transitions into Solar Energy

A Valley school district is teaching the value of renewable energy by turning campuses into hands-on science experiments.

The school district and the project are expected to save schools millions of dollars in energy costs. Clovis Unified is leading the way to the Central Valley’s solar future.

Don Ulrich of Clovis Unified Facility Services said, “As far as the size and power we’re generating, we think it’s around the third largest educational facility in the state of California.”

Panels will soon line the rooftops of shade structures like this one at 21 sites. 19 of them schools, two of them at district headquarters.

“One of our facilities is the bus yard over at the district office and we think that’s going to have a significant impact on the maintenance of our busses,” Ulrich said.

The $25 million project was made possible through measure a funds passed by voters last June. It’s expected to generate six megawatts of power or the equivalent of 6,000 homes.

It will also save the district $2.4 million dollars a year in energy expenses once construction is complete.

Director of Construction and Engineering Rick Lawson said, “Some of the schools actually have them out on the play field as well and we tried to do it in a way to shade our play structures.”

The materials are from right here in the Central Valley and school officials tell us with work going on at 21 school sites throughout the district, it will create about 4,000 jobs.”

This one is scheduled to be done in 3 months and that’s when we’re hoping to have everything on and generating power and collecting savings.

The work will be done in five phases and the savings will go right back into the classroom. But there’s another benefit as well.

Curriculum similar to what students are already using as part of Buchanan High School’s energy academy and there’s plans in the works to bring other schools online.

There are five schools that have an LCD screen that’s web based so any student can go in and not only see the savings at that school site, but also district wide.

Source: Cupertino Electric

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