Today at San Diego's Southwest High School, Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) and SunPower are celebrating the installation of 3.3 megawatts of high efficiency SunPower solar power systems at six district schools.
In addition, SUHSD recently signed a power purchase agreement with SunPower for a potential 6.4 megawatts of solar power systems at 16 additional campuses. Construction of these solar power systems is contingent upon SunPower receiving financing which, if received, would allow the additional campuses to be completed by the end of the year. If constructed, SUHSD should expect savings from all 22 systems of $6 million over the next 20 years.
"These SunPower systems will generate about 80 percent of the electricity demand at the campuses where they are located, allowing the Sweetwater Union High School District to use the savings to support our academic and enrichment programs," said Dr. Edward M. Brand, superintendent of SUHSD. "With proven, reliable SunPower technology, we are maximizing our savings while minimizing the district's carbon footprint. It is the right thing to do for our students and our community."
At the six district schools, SunPower installed solar shade structures in school parking lots, taking advantage of underutilized space and providing needed shade. The systems use high efficiency SunPower solar panels, the most efficient panels on the market today.
"Sweetwater Union High School District can rely on its high efficiency SunPower solar systems to deliver guaranteed performance for the next 20 years or more," said Howard Wenger, SunPower president, regions. "SunPower works with school districts across California to reduce operating costs and repurpose the savings to the classroom. It is extremely rewarding to deliver needed savings to our public schools with power from the sun."
The district's six operational solar systems are financed through a power purchase agreement with SunPower. Under terms of the agreements, Wells Fargo owns the systems that SunPower designs, builds, operates and maintains. The district is buying the electricity at rates that are competitive with retail electricity, minimizing the effect of rising electricity costs with no capital investment. The district owns the renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with the systems.
According to estimates provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the currently operating SUHSD solar power systems will avoid production of more than 2,600 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, the equivalent of removing more than 10,000 cars from California's roads over the next 20 years.