Solar system saves school district $492K in first year

A year after finally getting its long-delayed solar power project complete and online, the Sonoma Valley Unified School District saved almost a half-million dollars in electricity costs from Oct. 1 of last year through Sept. 30 of this year.

At Tuesday night’s school board meeting, Steve Kwok, a principal in Quattrocchi Kwok Architects, QKA, the company that designed the system, told the district board that the savings since the system went on line in October of last year amounted to $492,000, and with $600,000 in PG&E rebates so far, it has pumped almost $1.1 million back into the district’s general fund.

The rebates are estimated to be around $720,000 a year for five years – or about $3.6 million. The system cost almost $10.4 million.

“This is money that can now be spent in the classrooms,” Kwok said.

Justin Frese, the district’s deputy superintendent, said the savings covered almost all of the district’s electricity bills. Frese said the district was required to build the solar system for each of its electric meters. “Some campuses have several (electric) meters, and there were certain ones that weren’t worth converting (to solar),” he said.

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