Troubled by power cuts, Indians go green with solar energy

Solar Goes to School

Sep 28, 2010 - Bill Opalka -

Recently, the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education approved a partnership with AMSOLAR Corporation to build 5.2 megawatts of solar power for district campuses.

"That's probably one of the largest solar projects for a school system in the United States and probably the world," Joshua Weinstein, AMSOLAR's managing partner told me.

The system will bring solar power to 20 sites throughout the district and will be comprised of 23,000 solar panels placed on over 80 rooftops. The system will range is aide from 100 kilowatts to 500 kilowatts per campus. The company expects to provide 64 percent of the energy needs of the campuses own which it is located.

AMSOLAR's model is build, own and operate the solar system and sell the electricity to the customer through a long-term power purchase agreement, in this case, for 22 years. That means no up-front costs to the district.

`We selected the 20 sites based on their overall consumption and where we could best promote renewable energy awareness," Weinstein said.

Part of the company's renewable energy ethic is to help add to the science curriculum, build laptop charging stations on campus an give grants to teachers for energy program.

In a sense, AMSOLAR is competing with the incumbent utility, San Diego Gas & Electric and selling power at a lower per kilowatt-hour cost the at utility.

The San Diego Unified School District has projected that it will save between $13 million and $20 million against its utility costs.

Ground will be broken soon, with the entire project to be completed in early 2011.

AMSOLAR's business is primarily centered on educational facilities. It is now building a 1.2-megawatt solar system on the University of San Diego. It is actively pursuing school projects not just in California but also Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.


Updated: 2003/07/28