Sunday, May 20 , 2018, 10:00 am | Mostly Cloudy 61º


Solar Panel Project in the Works at San Marcos High

The district hopes the pilot program will expand to other local schools

The Santa Barbara school board recently approved a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for installing solar panels at San Marcos High School.

The RFQ is being sent to 15 vendors with expertise in installing and operating solar panels on school campuses. Of the vendors who respond to the request, three finalists will be asked to submit proposals for the solar installation.

The solar panel project at San Marcos is a pilot program for the district and is expected to result in annual energy cost savings, more predictable utility budgeting, a more stable energy source and a reduction in the school’s carbon footprint.

In addition, this installation will include an ongoing educational component supporting the environmental sciences programs for its students, real-time monitoring of energy usage and savings, charging stations for electric vehicles, and the infrastructure to increase electric vehicle charging capacity as electric vehicles become more common.

Finally, because of the availability of a type of contract known as a power purchase agreement and because of various incentives and rebates, it is expected that this project can be completed with no capital expenditure required by the district and no incurrence of debt.

The Santa Barbara School District has taken many steps over the years to reduce its carbon footprint, to reduce utility costs and to promote green and sustainable practices. This pilot project at San Marcos represents a new opportunity to reduce the environmental impact, one the district hopes to emulate at all of its schools.

— Carl Mayrose is a project manager for the Santa Barbara School District.

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