Roughly three-fourths of BUSD’s students qualify for free or low-cost meals, and district budget reserves have been under strain due to a difficult economy and a high local unemployment rate. But the solar power systems will offset an average of 70 percent of each of the eight facilities’ electricity needs, bringing immediate and long-term savings on energy bills.
SolarCity will install solar at Cameron Elementary School, Crestline Elementary School, Henderson Elementary School, Montara Elementary School, Barstow Junior High School, Barstow High School, Central High School, and the Barstow District Office.
“I applaud the school district for making an investment in energy that could potentially redirect millions in savings to our students,” said State Senator Jean Fullerton, who represents Barstow in the 18th District.
Barstow will also join hundreds of other districts across the state in benefiting from state net metering policy, which credits solar customers for the surplus clean energy their systems send to the grid for neighbors to consume. Net metering allows California schools to help the grid become cleaner and more efficient while diverting taxpayer spending on energy to increased spending on education.
“Barstow Unified School District is proud to set an example of environmental leadership for our students and our community,” said BUSD Superintendent Jeff Malan. “More importantly, going solar will help us to provide the best possible education for our students by cutting energy costs to free up funds that can be used directly in our classrooms to assist the teaching and support staff.”
“Nowhere is the value of solar greater than in our schools, where reduced utility electricity consumption benefits taxpayers, students, administrators, and the environment,” said Jim Cahill, SolarCity regional vice president. “SolarCity is proud to help the Barstow Unified School District achieve its goals of continued educational and institutional improvement.”
The solar power systems will also provide students with first-hand demonstrations of how solar technology works, and of solar energy’s benefits to the classroom, where students can view the school’s real-time energy production.
For more information, visit www.solarcity.com.
Publication date: 5/20/2013