contact us login

Woodside Priory  
solar project

Woodside Priory

Portola Valley, CA

System Size
132 kW

Annual Electricity Savings

Read the case study
Download as PDF

Solar-Powered Monastery Highlights Bay Area’s Largest Photovoltaic Installation at a Private High School

A Prior Commitment to Green

Woodside Priory’s stated mission is “to assist students of promise in becoming lifelong learners who will productively serve a world in need of their gifts.” Priory students Chase Haegele and Mike Mellenthin got a head start that mission in 2006, when they researched and proposed a plan to install solar power on the Bay Area private school’s campus. Heeding the Rule of St. Benedict’s guidance to protect resources with care and consideration for world, the Priory’s leadership decided to move forward with the project, and selected SolarCity to design and install the multibuilding solar systems. “Tending to environmental issues is the natural nexus between faith and reason, and between humans and creation—a position we prize highly at the Priory,” says Tim Molak, Woodside Priory’s Head of School.

A Shining Example

Solar panels now span the Priory’s monastery, dorm and classroom buildings, in what is the largest solar installation by any private high school in the Bay Area. SolarCity also installed its SolarGuard monitoring system, which turn the solar arrays into a teaching tool, allowing students and faculty the ability to monitor the system’s production and environmental impacts, such as carbon offset and pollution reduction. Woodside Priory and SolarCity created a public link to the solar systems’ production on the school’s website. “The solar systems have inspired our students to learn

“The solar systems have inspired our students to learn more about some of the greatest environmental challenges of our time, and they are cutting our electricity bills in half,” says Molak. “Solar has been a great decision for us on a number of different levels, and more schools should consider doing it.”