Monterey County Office of Education "flips switch" on solar power and efficiency project21. June 2012 | By: Monterey County Office of Education/Chevron Energy Solutions
The Monterey County Office of Education (MCOE), along with Chevron Energy Solutions, unveiled its solar power and energy efficiency project today during a briefing with the community at the MCOE headquarters located on Blanco Circle in Salinas.
The event attracted a multitude of community members, including elected officials, business leaders and education representatives. Guests from as far as San Jose and Santa Cruz attended in an effort to learn how MCOE was able to reduce its overall energy demand by as much as 75 percent while yielding an expected savings of $2.2 million during the first 25 years of the project.
"We're harnessing the sun to support our schools. This project protects taxpayer dollars and allows us to maximize our investment in the future of the students we serve," said Dr. Nancy Kotowski, Monterey County Superintendent of Schools.
Monterey County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nancy Kotowski , the Monterey County Board of Education and Chevron Energy Solutions led the community in a 30-minute briefing that included praise from US Congressman Sam Farr and California State Assembly Member Luis Alejo, who both honored the district with resolutions highlighting the key benefits of the project.
"As the leader in solar and energy efficiency projects for educational institutions, we are excited to deliver the first public education project of its kind in Monterey County," said Chevron Energy Solutions President Jim Davis. "The leadership shown by MCOE in reducing energy costs and saving taxpayers' money serves as a model for other agencies across Monterey County."
The project broke ground in February of this year with minimal up-front capital investment. MCOE secured a solar rebate of nearly $500,000 from PG&E, as well as a federal grant of $881,000 to help offset the price per kilowatt hour. The additional funding ensured that the overall system price had minimal fiscal impact to the agency. While the 630-kilowatt solar canopy system is the most visual aspect of the project, the scope included public infrastructure improvements, including a new energy-efficient hot water boiler, a new energy management system to control lighting, and an HVAC and water system.
With its steadfast focus on financial stability and accountability, the County Office of Education will demonstrate the project's success for the 24 school districts throughout the county that stand to receive similar fiscal benefits by tapping into the power of solar energy.