Sonoma High Schools Go Solar

Joanna Schroeder

School has started for many kids across the country and its no exception for the students of West Sonoma County Union High School District. But this year the students came back to a little face lift. The school has commissioned its 834 kW solar power system that should provide 80 percent of its power needs and Analy, El Molino and Laguna High Schools. The system, which is a combination of roof panels and ground mounted panels, was designed by Real Goods Solar and engineered and installed in less than four months.

WSCUHSD Superintendent Keller McDonald said, “Using solar will save the school district approximately $250,000 a year, plus the state of California will be providing an incentive for building the project of approximately $1.1 million, to be paid out over the next five years.”

The 2,600 Sunpower 320 modules are 70 percent elevated and 30 percent ground mounted. The district is expected to produce nearly 1,250 megawatt hours of electricity per year, or the enough to power 300 average sized homes. The students will be getting hands-on lessons in renewable energy and through Real Goods Solar’s curriculum and 12-acre solar demonstration center, called the Solar Living Institute.

Tyson Grul, Director of Commercial Solar for Real Goods added, “As a graduate of WSCUHSD, I find it particularly gratifying to be helping reduce its carbon footprint. With school continually facing budget cuts, this is a great example of a district taking control over its financial future and proving that ‘green energy’ is good for the environment and the economy.”

Electricity, Energy, Solar