Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) reported today that SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR) solar power systems at 16 schools are expected to significantly reduce the district's annual electricity costs over the next 25 years or more. The district is celebrating completion of the new high efficiency systems at an event this morning at Castlemont High School.
Additionally, SunPower is bringing the math and science behind the solar technology into the classroom in the form of curriculum that helps prepare students for careers in the clean energy economy.
"Oakland Unified School District wants to reduce its impact on the environment through the use of clean renewable energy, which also dramatically reduces utility expenses and energy use, providing us with the savings to enhance academic programs and support our teachers," said OUSD Superintendent Antwan Wilson. "We are also excited to be working with SunPower in an effort to expand the learning opportunities for our students and expose them to linked learning initiatives that will help them become college and career ready."
SunPower installed 3.6 megawatts of systems at the 16 schools, using SunPower solar panels, the most efficient and reliable panels on the market today. The panels are installed on building rooftops as well as solar carports in school parking lots, taking advantage of underutilized space and providing needed shade. The systems were funded through general obligation bonds secured by the district.
"Oakland Unified School District can rely on its SunPower solar systems to deliver guaranteed performance for the next 25 years," said Howard Wenger, SunPower president, business units. "SunPower works with school districts across California who are seeking ways to reduce operating costs and repurpose the savings to the classroom. It is extremely rewarding to partner with our public schools to deliver clean power with a SunPower system, while inspiring teachers and students with the great power and potential of the sun."
According to estimates provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the OUSD solar power systems will avoid production of almost 2,500 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, which is the equivalent of removing close to 12,000 cars from California's roads over the next 25 years.
Educational programs provided by SunPower to OUSD include Project Lead the Way engineering programs for four district elementary schools, professional development for teachers to learn about solar design and installation, and participation in the SunPower Solar Science Academy. The Solar Academy is a one week summer project- and work-based learning program that immerses students and teachers in a solar-focused curriculum that emphasizes science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Students gain work-ready skills in team collaboration, problem solving and public speaking while learning real world technical skills to design and perform financial analysis for residential solar systems.
SunPower is a leader in delivering energy solutions to California's school districts. At 19 school districts across the state, the company has installed solar power systems totaling more than 62 megawatts which, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, is enough to power almost 13,000 average California homes.