Schools Roundup: Solar at Paradise, School of Mines DOE Award, UK College Lighting Retrofit

SolarCity completed two solar projects for Paradise Unified School District in California that will offset 85 percent of the district’s electricity consumption. SolarCity designed and built two shade structures at Paradise Elementary School and Paradise Intermediate School totaling 260 kW. The district entered into a power purchase agreement with SolarCity, which locks in electricity rates for the next 15 years. The newly installed systems will save the district $50,000 each year. SolarCity guarantees annual production from the solar system and will oversee any required maintenance for the life of the PPA agreement. SolarCity also offers real-time monitoring of the solar systems that students and faculty can view online to see their schools’ solar electricity generation and their energy use on a daily, weekly or yearly basis.

The Department of Energy awarded more than $1 million to the Colorado School of Mines to work with public and private sector partners to develop manufacturing processes that replace hot stamping (typically 1,650°F) for making advanced high-strength, lightweight steels with a room-temperature stamping technique. This process is expected to dramatically reduce the cost and lower the energy needed to produce aircraft, vehicles and other large equipment. A faster manufacturing time is also expected to be a benefit because of the reduced cooling step using lower temperatures.

UK higher education institution The University of Essex worked with Rexel on a lighting retrofit estimated at $1.5 million, replacing LEDs for the outdoor walkways of the entire university campus in Colchester. The 150w HQL tubular lamps were replaced with a total of 197 Kingfisher LED-IN1BC4.7. Energy consumption was reduced from 133,509 kWh to 30,396 kWh per year, saving the university $15,600 a year.

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