A dual swing automatic gate is being installed on Nash Road near San Benito High School on July 23 as part of several repair and renovation projects throughout the campus. Photo: Juan Reyes

Local residents and community members can join San Benito High School District officials in “flipping the switch” on a new set of solar panels May 6 at Hollister High’s Career Technical Education building, according to a press release from the district. 

The event—which will also reveal Hollister High School’s new Maintenance, Operations and Transportation building—will be “another milestone in the Haybalers’ vision to grow steadily, and sustainably for future generations of students,” says the press release. 

The event is scheduled for 10am May 6 at 1220 Monterey St. in Hollister. 

The District powered its first solar panels in 2019, in a first phase of energy conservation improvements that have reduced San Benito’s electricity consumption by 6,607 MWh and $1.51 million as of February 2023, according to district officials. That’s equivalent to removing 220 cars off the road, preserving 31,360 trees and powering 157 Hollister homes each year. The newest roof and ground-mounted panels, along with HVAC modernizations and auto-regulating technologies, will add to the cost savings and energy reductions. 

“Being efficient and sustainable also means that we can provide more for our students,” Superintendent Dr. Shawn Tennenbaum stated. “Over the last five years, we’ve been one of the fastest growing districts in the state of California, and that mirrors what’s happening in the community. With that, we have added cost to our budget. When we took a look at how we can really offset cost, and provide as much as we can for our students and staff, it was a really intelligent and logical decision for the District.”

For the high school district, the solar power program is a movement toward creating a culture of sustainability in the Hollister community, the press release continues. The program feeds into teaching curriculum, and the school has created its own environmental club where students get a chance to share their input and shape the conversation.

“It’s easy for me to see from the operations side how that first solar farm has decreased our electrical costs,” said John Frusetta, the district’s Chief Business Officer. “That decrease in electrical costs allows us to be much more agile with our money. We know that we can put funding where we need to: toward students and education. We’re excited for the upcoming second solar farm to come online where we can really take full advantage of that.” 

The May 6 event is open to the public. Those interested in attending can RSVP by contacting Carol Heiderich at [email protected] or 831.637.5831 ext. 132. 

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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