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$3.2 Million Solar Electricity System to Power Chatsworth High School

Bond funds, which cannot be used for teacher salaries or to pay regular utility bills, are financing construction.

By November, nearly 40 percent of the electricity required to power Chatsworth High School will come from the sun.

A $3.2-million 484.12-kilowatt (KW) photovoltaic system is being built over 147 parking spaces in the lot on the northeast corner of the campus.

"LAUSD has been building photovoltaic structures throughout the district to offset ever-escalating electrical costs and, just as important, to provide substantial savings directly to the general fund which, in turn, saves teachers’ jobs," said Shannon Haber, a school district spokesperson.

She said that bond funds, which cannot be used for teacher salaries or to pay regular utility bills, are financing construction.

The photovoltaic systems "minimize our impact on the environment by making our schools more sustainable, and are able to lower the district’s General Fund costs for electricity," she said. "This maximizes the district's limited resources in the classroom."

The LAUSD’s Renewable Energy Photovoltaic Program includes 59 project sites with an estimated 21 megawatts of energy production to be completed by the first quarter of 2013. "LAUSD has a 75 megawatt goal to reduce the ever increasing electric costs," Haber said.

Chatsworth Solar Project Details:

  • System Size – 484.12  KW
  • Cost of System - $3.2 Million (Design/ Build, 20 year M&O Contract, 10 Year Performance Guarantee)
  • Project was not Financed, it was fully paid for through Bond Funds
  • LADWP Incentive Rebates - $1,000,000
  • Will offset 30-40 percent of the electric peak loads of the school
  • System is conservatively projected to generate 13,124,835 kwh which translates to $3,925,214, over 25 years (life of the system)
  • Target date for project completion is by November 2012
  • 147 Parking Spaces will be covered by the Solar Array Structure
  • 1,327 Panels Used – 265w polycrystalline panels

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Charles Murray August 28, 2012 at 03:26 PM
This is a classic, LOL... One branch of the City of LA government (LAUSD), undercutting another branch of the same City government (LADWP), while "creating" jobs that aren't necessary. Sure, I'm writing negatively here, but I don't believe in any actual long-term benefits with solar power for big applications like schools. Perhaps it makes sense for private homes, and certainly for things like yard lighting and lighted road signs; where running wiring would be more costly than the solar cells and maintenance thereof, but for a school? I smell a future bond issue on the ballot for $10 million to "fix the solar panels which failed", and the contractor and manufacturers had gone belly-up on the warranty.
Linda Coburn August 28, 2012 at 05:32 PM
I don't understand what you mean, Charles. Saving millions of dollars on energy costs is not a long-term benefit? Removing thousands of kilowatt hours from the local power grid is not a long-term benefit? Reducing the carbon footprint of the school is not a long-term benefit? Provided shaded parking for faculty is not a long-term benefit? Demonstrating alternative forms of power to kids is not a long-term benefit?
Richard Mathews August 28, 2012 at 08:04 PM
LAUSD is not city government. More than a dozen cities in addition to Los Angeles are part of LAUSD. Funding for LAUSD comes from the state, not from the cities. This project will save LAUSD from making big payments to both LADWP and Edison, keeping that money in the schools and making it a great long-term investment. The district will save something approaching half a million dollars a year from projects like this across the district, freeing that money to help students. And you gain shaded parking areas.
Scott J Munson August 31, 2012 at 04:38 AM
Interesting project. The cost analysis is based upon a 25 year panel life, but the performance is only guaranteed 10 years! I hope they work well the last 15 yrs or we're all out a bunch of $. According to their data, the financial benefit of this project is due to the fact that DWP charged its ratepayers an extra $1M so we could give it to LAUSD. Any carbon footprint reduction is negligible until China, India, E, Europe, S. America, etc stop building coal power plants every week, which they will never do (they can't afford it).

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