Northern California Elementary Schools Go Solar

The Jefferson Elementary School District will use solar energy to save $17 million over the next 25 years.

Fourteen schools in the Jefferson Elementary School District (JESD), located in Northern California just south of San Francisco, will be going solar in an effort to stabilize finances and dramatically reduce its carbon footprint.

The San Francisco Examiner reports that this $12 million project will save the district $17 million over the next 25 years, an important accomplishment given the fact that so many education institutions have suffered from major budget cuts and limited financial resources over the last several years.

The solar installation will provide clean, renewable energy to 14 schools while also producing energy for the district’s administrative building and central kitchen facility. This will reduce the amount of electricity that the district purchases by 85 percent. In addition, the use of California solar energy will prevent 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted.

Funding for the project came from a number of sources, mainly a local ballot measure that authorized the district to borrow money to pay for energy improvements, as well as appropriations from the California Solar Initiative (CSI).

Additionally, the district has designed a curriculum that will promote solar energy to its students and educate them about the virtues of solar technology. Teachers will be given resources to help their pupils better understand how this move will benefit their schooling, and each school’s main office will be equipped with an LCD display showing data on energy production.

The JESD’s solar project serves as an excellent model for any school administrators who are hoping to implement a similar effort to help their district become more energy independent and financially stable.