Like many school districts across the country, Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District was forced to pare budgets during the economic downturn, including suspending their music program in 2009.
In 2012, the district began looking for ways to produce operational savings. Through a process managed by Terra Verde Renewable Partners, the district selected SolarCity to install nearly one megawatt of solar projects. The savings they generated were music to the ears of the district, enabling it to restore the previously suspended music programs.
SolarCity worked with the district to design a series of solar projects that would meet their financial needs. After evaluating the district’s portfolio of properties, SolarCity installed solar arrays at three of the district’s five schools—Firebaugh High School and Middle School, as well as Hazel M. Bailey Elementary.
The district purchased the solar systems, which are expected to save $900,000 in the first five years of operation and several million over their lifetime. As a direct result of these savings, the school district revived the music and arts program for 4th through 12th grade students in the 2012-2013 school year.
“During these past 10 years, school districts have experienced the most difficult financial times,” said Russell Freitas, Superintendent of the Firebaugh-Las Deltas USD. “Because of the savings, we were able to bring back music instruction to the district.”
The on-site projects also provide educational value to the school district. Students can 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 platform, PowerGuide, which displays real-time data about the energy production at each school site. Even more, having solar arrays at schools inspires environmental consciousness and an awareness of sustainability that students can take with them as they grow and help solve tomorrow’s environmental and global challenges.