SBHS adds solar, saves money

Students and staff planned power project

San Benito High School students and staff have exerted some extra energy to plan and implement new procedures and install new equipment, including solar power, that will save—and renew—energy at the school for years to come.

The high school’s environmental science students and teachers, along with staff and administrators, earlier this month celebrated the connection of a new solar photovoltaic system and the success of the campus energy renewal and efficiency program with a ceremonial flipping of the switch and green ribbon-cutting in Baler Alley.

District officials reported that through September, the district had saved close to $300,000 as a result of energy measures, including building automation systems, the conversion to LEDs and the installation of solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity using semiconductors.

“Just over two years ago, San Benito High School District embarked on a mission to become more energy efficient, environmentally conscious and do our part to slow the dramatic effects of climate change,” Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum said at an Oct. 4 ceremony.

He thanked the district’s energy-efficiency partner Climatec with helping the district achieve environmental benefits that are thus far equivalent to removing 160 cars from the road, saving nearly 87,000 gallons of gasoline, preserving nearly 23,000 trees from deforestation and powering 114 Hollister homes.

The solar arrays, approved for grid connection in mid-September, were the last piece of the districtwide energy infrastructure project. They are projected to generate 1,096,578 kWh throughout their lifespan, according to the district.

Combined with other recent facility upgrades, the district will save approximately $13.3 million in energy costs, the environmental savings equivalent of 220 cars off the road, 157 Hollister homes powered and 31,348 trees preserved.

“We are proud to implement energy-efficient and renewable technologies so our students can enjoy day-to-day learning,” said Tennenbaum. “These solutions will maximize long-term benefits to our district, ensuring optimal learning and working environments for our students and staff to continue to succeed.”

“The work we’ve accomplished through our partnership with Climatec has already had a huge impact on our school,” said principal Adrian Ramirez. “We couldn’t have predicted the feeling our administration is experiencing now that the project is done. We’re proud to offer our students and staff modernized technology that reaps environmental benefits.”

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