Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District is one of the many school districts across the country that was forced to adopt a lean budget in the aftermath of the economic downturn, including the suspension of the District’s music program in 2009. In 2012, through a bid and project development process run and managed by Terra Verde Renewable Partners, the district selected SolarCity as its partner to install almost 1MW of solar projects. They used the energy bill savings to restore music programs that had been suspended due to lack of funding.
SolarCity worked with Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District to design a portfolio of solar projects that would meet their financial needs. After evaluating the District’s portfolio of properties, SolarCity installed solar arrays at three out of five of the district’s schools—Firebaugh High School, Middle School, and Hazel Bailey Elementary. The solar systems were purchased by the District and are expected to save the District $900,000* in the first five years of operation and several million over the lifetime of the systems. As a direct result of these massive savings, the school district was able to revive music and art programs for 4th through 12th graders in the 2012-2013 school year. “School districts across the country are pursuing ways to allocate as much of their budgets as possible to what matters most: the education of their communities’ children,” said Dennis Cox, Regional Vice President, SolarCity. “Firebaugh-Las Deltas is at the forefront of the movement to go solar and save money while doing right by the planet that their students will inherit.”
Educating the Environmental Stewards of Tomorrow
The on-site solar projects also provide educational value to the school district since students get to see first-hand how solar technology converts sunlight into the lighting in their classrooms, a practical application of the science they learn in the classroom. Students also have access to SolarCity’s web-based monitoring, PowerGuide, which displays real-time data about the energy production at each school site. Even more, having solar at schools inspires an environmental consciousness and ethic of sustainability that students will march forward with into the future to solve tomorrow’s global environmental challenges.