In April 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded a Solar America Showcase grant to the Sequoia Foundation and Berkeley based KyotoUSA to develop Solar Master Plans for Berkeley, Oakland, and West Contra Costa Unified School Districts. The Solar America Showcase technical assistance grant was intended to support companies and local government entities that are “highly committed” to adopt solar technology and to accelerate the installation of photovoltaic (PV) panels across the country.
The Solar Master Plans were developed in a partnership that was led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and KyotoUSA, and included the three school districts, SunPower Corporation, Richmond, and Moore Iacofano Goltsman, Inc. a Berkeley consulting firm.
The BUSD’s Solar Master Plans provide detailed information on the district’s energy consumption and cost, a comprehensive evaluation of the PV potential for all schools and facilities, and specific information on all aspects of a large scale PV transaction.
“School districts spend a significant amount of money each year on energy,” said KyotoUSA’s Tom Kelly, “and that cost is growing every year. School districts now understand that they can achieve big savings through conservation and efficiency. They are also beginning to see that renewable energy systems play an important role in reducing costs, providing educational opportunities for their students, and contributing to the effort to fight climate change. Installing renewable energy systems is no longer out of reach. The Solar Master Plans show them how to get there.”
“The Solar Master Plan for Berkeley Unified School District enabled the district to include a request from Berkeley residents of $6.4 million in our 2010 Measure I construction bond measure,” said William Huyett, Superintendent at BUSD. “Those funds will allow us to add another 700 kW of solar to the 180 kW we’ve already installed. The savings we achieve by reducing our electricity costs directly reflect cuts that we have not had to make. And the kids see that we are doing our part to reduce our carbon footprint, as solar on a school building obviously provides numerous learning opportunities.”
Visit the HELiOS Project website at heliosproject.org and see BUSD’s Solar Master Plan.