The East Side Union High School District in San Jose, California is now officially home to what is being called the largest K-12 solar and energy efficiency program in the U.S. When project sponsor Chevron Energy originally announced the program, it was then expected to involve a 3.7 megawatt solar installation for the school district but more recent news from the company indicates that the scope of the solar installation grew over the last year. A recent statement indicates that a total of 7.1 megawatts worth of solar power generation systems have now been installed across 13 sites in the district-almost doubling the original figure.
The solar power systems, in conjunction with energy efficiency efforts developed and installed by Chevron, are expected to offset 55% of the district’s annual electricity usage. It is said the savings will represents about $43 million over a 5-year period which Lan Nguyen, president of the East Side Union High School District Board, likened to approximately 30 teacher jobs.
Chevron Energy said it designed, constructed, operates, maintains, measures and guarantees the solar system’s performance for the district. During construction, the company provided curriculum and hands-on experiments intended to help to create a “living laboratory” with the additional aim to enhance environmental awareness and energy consciousness amongst the students and teachers in the district.
Chevron has recently put similar programs in place two other school districts in California. The company recently completed a 2.1 megawatt solar installation in Morgan Hill, California and a 2 megawatt system in San Diego as well. Chevron Energy is also working on a program that involves a solar thermal array at North Carolina Central University.