California’s Soledad Unified School District, located in Monterey County, in the Salinas Valley, has approved a contract with OpTerra Energy Services Inc. to design and construct Soledad High School’s first solar project.
The project – funded through a $2 million, 0% interest loan from the California Energy Commission – is expected to be completed by February 2017.
OpTerra estimates that the energy savings associated with the project’s renewable energy production will save the district approximately $45,000 annually after loan payments – totaling over $4 million in energy savings over the 25-year life of the project.
The board of trustees approved the project concept at its March 9 meeting, and OpTerra was selected through a competitive procurement process in April. Construction is expected to begin in the fall.
OpTerra says the solar project is the first step in a comprehensive energy program that the district hopes will leverage State of California Proposition 39 funding provided to every public school district for energy efficiency upgrades. The potential scope of a district-wide project would include installing solar at all district sites and upgrading interior and exterior lighting with LED technology. The district serves approximately 4,900 students in grades K-12.