Where's the world's largest solar array for schools? California of course

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By: SGN Staff

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With an enrollment of 33,000 students, California's Mount Diablo Unified School District is a fair-sized system, but far from huge. Nevertheless, its rooftop solar installation is said to be the largest of any school district in the world.

 

According to a Sustainable Business article, the district's solar installations on the rooftops of 51 schools generate 12.1 MW of power and save the district $3 million a year, 92% of its annual electricity costs.

 

Most of the work on the San Francisco Bay area district's solar array was done during schools and took only 15 months to complete. More than 28,000 photovoltaic panels have been installed on rooftops and carports. Voters approved Clean Renewable Energy Bonds to cover the $56 million cost of the installations, in addition to general obligation bonds.

 

Apparently it wasn't easy to install the systems, which include underground electrical distribution among other things. John Hunter, president of Del Monte Electric which managed the project, said "This was a very complex project and we had to manage a huge crew of sub-contractors to work under aggressive schedules to minimize the impact to the school district."

 

While a number of U.S. school districts are and have been adding solar, the Mount Diablo installation is now by far the largest.