SunPower Wins Big Solar School Project

In the category Biggest School Solar Installation Contract Ever, there’s a new leader: Mount Diablo, in sunny eastern Contra Costa County, Calif., has one-upped Southern California’s Antelope Valley. SunPower made the announcement, saying it will install 11.2 megawatts (MW) of solar power at 51 district schools by early 2012.

SunPower didn’t say how much the Mount Diablo Unified Schools will pay for the project, but put the 30-year energy-cost savings at $192 million. The system will be financed through Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) available courtesy the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. With CREBs, the federal government picks up most of the interest cost on the bonds, so the district’s effective rate is less than 2 percent, SunPower said.

Photovoltaic panels, solar

image via PG&E

As at Antelope Valley, where 9.6 MWs in solar capacity are going in, the Mount Diablo systems will go in over parking lots and hard-court areas.

SunPower, headquartered in San Jose, said that in the past year it has done projects for a long list of California school systems, including the Los Angeles Unified School District, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, the University of California at Merced, Bakersfield College and Mendocino College.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

1 Comment

  • great news for a great company and a great cause- schools could start cutting corners on energy bills instead of teacher salaries.

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