Solar to California Schools

Two schools in California will soon begin making their own electricity from the sun thanks to low-interest loans from the California Energy Commission.

SONOMA, California – April 9, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] Sonoma State University and the Sacred Heart School of Saratoga have been awarded loans of US$157,300 and US$153,700 respectively for the projects. The loan will enable Sonoma State to install a rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system that will generate 68 kW of electricity from the sun. The new system will not only produce renewable power, but its PV roof tiles will also help reduce the cooling needs of the Rubin Salazar Building on which they will be installed. As a result of the new installation, the university can expect to save US$17,500 a year on its electricity bill. From the energy savings alone, Sonoma State can repay the state loan in nine years. This will be the first producing renewable power installation on the Sonoma State campus. The Rubin Salazar Building houses 16 classrooms, electronic technology workshops, and offices. Sonoma State University, located in Rohnert Park, has an enrollment of more than 7,200 full-time students. The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose will use its loan to install a PV system at the school to generate electricity from solar power. The rooftop PV panels should produce 59 kW of electricity, allowing the school to become self-sufficient in its electricity use and reducing the school’s energy bill by more than US$17,000 a year. From the clean electricity the PV system will generate, the school can repay the loan in nine years. The Sacred Heart School of Saratoga teaches over 350 students from preschool through the eighth grade. Funding for the projects come from the Energy Commission’s Energy Conservation Assistance Act account. The program provides low-interest loans to local governments, public and private non-profit schools and hospitals, public care institutions and other agencies for energy efficiency and energy producing projects.

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