More than 2,500 newly installed solar panels atop carports at Cabrillo High School are expected to save the Long Beach Unified School District roughly $2 million on utility bills over the next 25 years.
“More school districts are using sunshine to reduce utility costs and increase their use of clean energy,” said LBUSD Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser. “Our school district is already a leader in energy efficiency. All of our schools have earned Energy Star Certification from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. This solar project builds upon our efforts to be good stewards of both the environment and taxpayer dollars.”
The 805-kilowatt system was installed with no upfront costs to the school district, allowing LBUSD to pay lower rates for solar electricity than it now pays for utility power. All costs incurred to operate the system are incorporated into the agreement.
The carport array will avert an estimated 28 million pounds of annual carbon dioxide emissions over the next 25 years, the equivalent of planting more than 1.2 million trees or taking nearly 2,500 cars off the road. It will also provide shade for drivers, further reducing carbon emissions from vehicle air conditioning. The installation is expected to save more than 130 million gallons of water because solar power requires virtually no water to generate electricity, while fossil fuels and nuclear energy use substantial amounts of water to do so.
“The benefits of solar power will continue to multiply over time as the agreement for the solar power is at a fixed rate with no escalation to the initial kilowatt hour pricing,” said Jim Cahill, Southern California Regional Vice President for SolarCity, the nation’s largest solar company and provider for LBUSD’s Cabrillo High School system.
The Cabrillo solar project is the third solar installation for the school district. The first was at Millikan High School using a science grant, and the second was a roof-top thin-film installation at the new McBride High School that opened last fall.