Renowned naturalist John Muir called Martinez his home for nearly a century. The Martinez Unified School District (MUSD) is continuing his legacy by installing a solar system at each school in the district. SolarCity and MUSD teamed up for a 1.3-megawatt (MW) solar power project that has brought energy to all nine MUSD schools. The systems will offset 94 percent of the nine facilities’ electricity needs, providing electricity for the schools during the day, and reducing the need for expensive peak power from the utility. The district expects to save $442,000* on utility bills in the first year alone, and roughly $22.5 million* over the next 20 years. That savings will provide additional funding for several key programs and services.
The solar systems also add educational value to the classroom by providing students with a real-life example of renewable energy in their daily lives. The students can see firsthand how solar panels benefit the classroom, since they can view the schools’ real-time energy production using PowerGuide, SolarCity’s web-based monitoring platform. PowerGuide monitors are installed at every site that operates a solar array, so students and visitors can track the environmental benefits of the system at each school.