The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), one of the largest districts in the country, selected SolarCity to install systems totaling 7.4 MW across 26 school sites. The various solar shade structures range in size from 197 kW to 312 kW, and offset between 25% and 100% of each school’s electricity usage.
Installing solar arrays had to make financial sense for LAUSD—and it definitely does. Together, the solar installations saved the district more than $776,000 in the first year of operation alone and are expected to deliver over $25.5 million in savings over the
lifetime of the agreement.
For SolarCity project managers, the most complex aspect of the project was not the technology, but rather the site-specific conditions at each school. SolarCity project managers worked closely with LAUSD to coordinate approvals and testing, meet schedules and stay in line with LAUSD requirements and Division of the State Architect (DSA) regulations—all while committing to work outside of school hours. It took significant collaboration with various LAUSD departments, including the Sustainability Department, Project Execution Team, Program Management Team and Energy Department.
In addition to providing solar savings, SolarCity also developed a “solar walking tour” featuring educational signage illustrated with infographics and descriptions of the projects. Students can follow the solar electricity from the solar shade structures through the various components and all the way back to the classroom, where they can view the school’s energy production in real time.