New Solar Panels and Proposition 39
Construction began in early 2016 to transform the area around the Nelson Education Center into a parking lot shaded by solar panels. It is the latest and final piece of a project to improve energy efficiency funded through Proposition 39, also known as the California Clean Energy Jobs Act. The completed project is expected to save the San Joaquin County Office of Education more than $500,000 a year in energy costs.
A $1.6 million Prop. 39 grant from the state offsets the $5.1 million project, which replaces 22 HVAC units and upgrades interior and exterior lighting campus-wide. The savings are enough to cover the SJCOE’s cost of the project in 7 to 8 years. In total, the project will annually reduce an amount of CO2 gas that is the equivalent of what is emitted by burning 1,380 barrels of oil.
The new solar panels will generate about 95 percent of the anticipated energy needs for the administrative offices at the Nelson Center and the gym and classrooms at the Excel Academy, part of the SJCOE’s Venture Academy Family of Schools.
The completed project will be the second solar panel-covered parking lot on the SJCOE campus. The solar array across the street from the Wentworth Education Center is a smaller project. It has saved nearly $500,000 since it went online in the 2010-11 fiscal year.
For a look at plantings coming to the parking lots, click here.