San Jose Unified School District - 5.5 Megawatts

San José Unified School District announced on February 5, 2009, the completion of what is believed to be the largest K-12 solar and energy efficiency project in the United States.

The project, which includes a total of 5.5 megawatts of solar power at 14 district sites, is expected to reduce the district’s energy costs by more than 30 percent. Reductions in energy costs are expected to save the district’s general fund more than $25 million over the 25-year life of the project. The California Solar Initiative and other incentives offset the overall cost of the program by more than $11 million. The environmental reduction of 37,500 tons of carbon dioxide emissions is equivalent to planting 400 acres of trees.

The PV system was dedicated at Willow Glen Middle School and High School in San Jose, CA on February 5th, 2009.

Cerro Cosa Community College District - 959 Kilowatts

Construction was completed in June of 2004. The general project design consists of 6 ½ acres of ground mounted Sharp Electronic solar modules and a free standing concrete building that will house the inverters, distribution equipment and allows for student laboratory space.

At a cost of $9.2 million, Cerro Coso’s installation is believed to be the largest PV array of any community college in the nation, with more than 6,100 PV panels capable of producing 959 kilowatts.

On a sunny day, Cerro Coso’s PV array can supply enough electricity to meet most of the needs of the campus, which serves 2,700 students.  SCE will augment or provide backup power for those times when the array does not fully meet the school’s electricity needs.  In addition to the $4.3 million the district receives through the program, school administrators estimate an annual cost savings of approximately $250,000 in energy costs.

Contra Costa - 3.2 Megawatts

The 3.2-MW solar power generation system, comprising PV panels mounted on 34 parking canopies in six parking lots at Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College and Los Medanos College, is the largest ever for a college or university system in North America. The project is the highlight of a multi-facility energy efficiency and solar program that is expected to save CCCCD more than $70 million over 25 years.

The solar installation is expected to generate about four million kilowatt-hours of power each year, supplying up to half of CCCCD’s peak electricity needs. This renewable power will offset the production of about 5.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually – equivalent to removing 629 cars from the road or planting 636 acres of trees.

The $35.2 million project cost is being offset by about $8.5 million in rebates and other incentives administered by Pacific Gas and Electric Company under the State of California’s Solar Initiative, Self-Generation Incentive Program and Community College Partnership Program.

Milpitas Unified School District - 3.4 Megawatts

Milpitas Unified School District completed a 19-site, district-wide solar and energy efficiency project designed to supply 75 percent of the district’s total annual electricity needs through solar energy.

The 3.4-megawatt solar parking canopies and shade structures generate 100 percent of the district’s power during the summer months when California’s peak-demand electricity needs are greatest.

The program benefits the district and school community in several ways:

Reduced Energy Costs – The program is designed to reduce the district’s energy costs by more than 22 percent and save the district’s general fund $12 million over the life of the solar project, while providing budget predictability through known energy costs.

Solar Energy – The solar project will reduce the district’s purchase of utility power, which in turn will reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 23,600 metric tons, equivalent to planting 270 acres of trees.

Education Programs – The project provides learning opportunities for students by having the solar panels on site as well as a kiosk that provides information about the energy the panels generate and the energy management software.

Shade – The new solar-paneled structures provide shade for cars and people.

Fresno State University - 1.1 Megawatts

The large-scale solar power installation at California State University, Fresno will supply 20 percent of the university’s annual power needs. The 1.1-megawatt solar system is expected to save Fresno State more than $13 million in avoided utility costs over its 30-year lifespan.

The 10 solar carports, designed and built by M Bar C Construction, provide the only shaded parking on the campus. They are comprised of 3,872 photovoltaic panels mounted on top of more than 700 carport stalls constructed in parking lots on the southeast side of campus. The renewable energy system is expected to generate more than 1.5 million kilowatt hours of power each year, offsetting the production of about 950 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions—equivalent to planting more than 24,300 new trees or removing more than 200 cars from the road every year.

The solar parking project includes:

Ten multi-car, covered parking canopies topped with PV panels

Four publicly located electronic kiosks that provide real-time status of the photovoltaic production, conversion and electricity output

The covered parking includes 125 spots designated as premium reserved spaces for faculty and staff who pay a fee above normal campus parking fees for exclusive use of a stall.