Solar, Upgrades Will Trim School Energy Bill

Soon, solar panels will begin appearing on the campuses of Jurupa Unified School District in Riverside County, Calif. The contractor on the job, Chevron Energy Solutions, announced the 2.7-megawatt (MW) solar project which, along with energy-efficiency upgrades, will reportedly save the district an $34 million in energy costs.

Solar photovoltaic panels will be mounted on parking shade structures at nine of the district’s campuses. In addition, more than 21,000 lighting fixtures will be updated with energy efficient lighting, and 400 air-conditioning units will be replaced. Overall, the project is expected to cut the district’s electricity use by as much as 42 percent and reduce carbon emissions by 4,500 metric tons, the equivalent of what 882 cars would produce.

Jurupa solar and upgrades

image via Jurupa School District

In addition to installing, operating and maintaining the project, Chevron said it will also provide special curriculum materials for teachers. These can be used to provide a living laboratory for students to learn about  environmental awareness and energy savings, the company said.

“This is the next step in our ongoing quest to keep Jurupa Unified School District as sustainable and well-managed as possible,” school district Superintendent Elliott Duchon said in a statement. “We’re making our schools a better place to learn and teaching our children the importance of energy efficiency and environmental stewardship.”

In addition to this project, the district has also instituted program that has lead to $400,000 in savings in the last year.  The district also claims to have been among the first in the country to replace its fleet of large diesel buses with compressed natural gas buses.

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Kristy Hessman is a writer and native Oregonian who currently resides in California. Before starting her own company, she worked as a reporter covering business and politics for daily newspapers and The Associated Press.