SALINAS, Calif. — The Monterey County Office of Education (MCOE), along with Chevron Energy Solutions, unveiled a new solar power and energy efficiency project that is expected to reduce MCOE’s overall energy demand by as much as 75 percent while yielding an expected savings of $2.2 million during the first 25 years of the project.

“We’re harnessing the sun to support our schools. This project protects taxpayer dollars and allows us to maximize our investment in the future of the students we serve,” said Dr. Nancy Kotowski, Monterey County superintendent of schools.

The Monterey County Office of Education provides services and resources to support the county’s 24 school districts and two community colleges.

“As the leader in solar and energy efficiency projects for educational institutions, we are excited to deliver the first public education project of its kind in Monterey County,” said Chevron Energy Solutions President Jim Davis. “The leadership shown by MCOE in reducing energy costs and saving taxpayers’ money serves as a model for other agencies across Monterey County.”

The project broke ground in February of this year with minimal up-front capital investment. MCOE secured a solar rebate of nearly $500,000 from PG&E, as well as a federal grant of $881,000 to help offset the price per kilowatt hour. The additional funding ensured that the overall system price had minimal fiscal impact to the agency. While the 630-kilowatt solar canopy system is the most visual aspect of the project, the scope included infrastructure improvements, including a new energy-efficient hot water boiler, a new energy management system to control lighting, and an HVAC and water system.

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Publication date: 9/17/2012