Sixteen public schools in Oakland are about to get solar panels from San Jose-based SunPower. School districts across California are increasingly turning to solar as a way to cut operational costs, maintain funding for academic program and introduce students to solar science and technology.
Once completed in 2014, the Oakland Unified School District estimates it will reduce electricity costs at the campuses by 46 percent.
“Our contract with SunPower will enable OUSD to maximize our use of clean renewable energy, dramatically reduce utility expenses, and use the savings to enhance academic programs,” said OUSD Superintendent Dr. Gary Yee. “We will also have the opportunity to take advantage of linked learning initiatives such as the successful SunPower Solar Academy, which integrates real world work experience with rigorous academic programs to inspire students while preparing them for college and careers.”
The SunPower solar systems include rooftop solar arrays and shade structures on school parking lots.
The 16 schools scheduled to go solar are mostly middle and high schools, including Montera Middle School, Castlemont High School, Oakland International High School, Oakland Technical High School, Sankofa Academy, Skyline High School and Westlake Middle School.
Oakland Technical High School. Photo by Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group.