New Clean Energy Curricula and Budget Savings Thanks to Solar Energy
Milpitas Unified School District envisioned a program that would promote solar energy, save general fund dollars, steward the environment and provide ongoing educational opportunity. To meet this goal, the school district installed a 3.4 megawatt photovoltaic solar system across 13 schools and one district administration building.
As part of the program’s educational component, the solar installations support curriculum that is aligned with the state’s testing requirements and provide hands-on learning tools for students and teachers. The panels in the form of parking canopies and shade structures are on every school campus, bringing daily attention to clean energy and provide hands on opportunity for students and teachers. Each site also has educational displays with project information and real-time energy production data[i].
Solar energy help stabilize budgets
In addition to expanded curriculum, the school district enjoys greater budget stability and predictability. Together with energy efficiency measures, this initiative matches 75% of the district’s electricity needs during the school year, and 100% in the summer months[ii]. Through the initiative, Milpitas Unified School District will save $12 million over the life of the project[iii]. Savings come from three sources: Lower electricity costs, thanks to energy efficiency measures installed in tandem with the solar project; additional revenues from the sale of renewable energy certificates (RECs); and selling unused power in the summer months.
The Renewable energy generated through the project is expected to have a carbon reduction similar to planting 1252 football fields worth of pine forest[iv].