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SUHSD flips the switch on $32M in energy savings

With the flip of a switch, Salinas Union High School District will save $32 million over the next 25 years.

With the flip of a switch, Salinas Union High School District will save $32 million over the next 25 years.

The District held a ceremony November 1 at North Salinas High School to commemorate the completion of key upgrades at 14 sites. In collaboration with ENGIE Services, a sustainable energy company, the District added solar energy and LED lighting to reduce its carbon footprint and help expose students to the possibilities of the renewable energy industry.

The partnership goes beyond the remarkable fiscal benefits to the district. ENGIE provides the opportunity for students to participate in hands-on-project-based learning activities, job shadowing and career discussions. It also provides STEM career examples through its employees and outreach opportunities.

“This partnership is already positively impacting our student body and our environmental profile,” said Superintendent Dan Burns. “Our district’s mission is to ensure that all students are prepared for success in the world around them. And this is predicated on providing the best in-class learning opportunities for all students.”

The construction side of the project included 143 new LED fixtures for canopies in parking lots. Alisal High School’s stadium lighting also got upgrated to energy efficiant LEDs.

The solar panels will offset 826 metric tons of CO2 emissions, the equivalent of removing 177 cars from the road.

 The districts is expected to reduce its energy spending by 90 percent over the next quarter-century. Through a Tax-Exempt Lease Purchase (TELP)with a 17-year financing term, the project allows savings to be returned to the General Fund. The TELP is paid back entirely from savings.