Featured Article: Solar Program Shines
In the summer of 2015 Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) installed solar panels at 32 district properties. All of the solar structures are operational and have been generating electricity for about one year. Throughout its lifetime, the environmental impact is expected to equate to conserving 2.7 million gallons of water, 422,000 gallons of gas, and planting nearly 100,000 trees.
Since being operational, the solar program has produced approximately 4,870 megawatt hours of energy. As you can imagine, the 32 schools and multiple facilities throughout NMUSD consume large amounts of energy. Energy consumption also is likely to increase due to many changing factors, including the addition of air conditioning systems, expanded facilities, and increased technology implementation.
The panels are generating nearly $700,000 in energy savings per year. At this rate, the district is expected to earn back its construction expenses in six years. NMUSD, in a sense being its own utility provider, is able to sell excess energy to the utility company when the sun is shining and energy usage is low, such as during the summer when school is not in session.
You can view the amount of energy being generated and the positive environmental impacts at of each location by clicking here.
The solar program is just one example of a variety of other energy efficient and environmentally friendly district initiatives. Some of those initiatives include water conservation, technology efficiencies, compressed natural gas school busses, sustainable building materials, integrated pest management and more.