The Chula Vista Elementary School District and ENGIE North America unveiled a $32 million solar and microgrid project that will save the district more than $70 million in net electricity costs over the next 25 years.
On Wednesday morning, Castle Park Elementary School students flipped the switch to solar installed across 46 schools, providing the district with 8.1 megawatts of solar power. More than 18,000 solar panels were installed for the project, which was funded through a G.O. bond.
“We are excited to cross the finish line on this project that supports our priority to raise awareness and provide conservation and sustainability for our students,” said Lucy Ugarte, CVESD Board President.
District officials announced it is finalizing a microgrid system, located at the Education Service and Support Center, powered through solar and batteries to provide backup emergency power to the District’s I.T. department, additional servers, and the Child Nutrition freezer.
The microgrid’s battery storage system will also provide electricity during the peak time period of 4p.m through 9 p.m. when electric rates are highest.
“That is $70 million in savings even after project costs have been paid for," said Oscar Esquivel, CVESD Superintendent. "By the end of this project, we think we will be able to generate about 90 percent of the District’s overall energy demands. That is a tremendous amount of energy—and savings for our District. This is a ‘green’ project both environmentally and fiscally."
According to ENGIE, the solar panels will save the District from having to pull their electricity from SDG&E’s electrical grid during that time each day.
“We have a demonstrated commitment to strengthening environmental sustainability efforts that our community recognizes," Esquivel said. "Our team has done an outstanding job of continually finding ways to increase energy efficiency and savings while doing our part to improve the environment. We want to model for our students the importance of energy awareness, conservation, and sustainability."