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Solar Power paying off for PUSD
District has received close to $700,000 in rebate money
After only six months of operating its new solar-powered projects at three of five sites, the Porterville Unified School District has received close to $700,000 in rebates.
“We’re on target to getting our total rebates — over a five year period it should be just short of $9 million,” said Ken Gibbs, assistant superintendent of business services, as he reported on the District’s solar-energy savings and rebates Thursday evening to the Porterville Unified School District Governing Board during its regular meeting.
“We had no bill at all for three months after we turned them on,” Gibbs said.
The district is also seeing significant savings in electricity energy.
Granite Hills High School’s electricity bill between February and July of 2011 totalled $115,340. The same time period in 2012 cost $37,906.
At Porterville High, the bill from November 2010 to July 2011 and the same time period in 2012 went from $141,811 to $42,339.
The Porterville Adult School had similar savings, going from $69,264. to $21,179. between December and August of 2011 and the same time frame in 2012.
Dr. John Snavely, superintendent of the district, pointed out that a number of the days quoted were winter days, which produce less solar power than sunny days, when additional savings can be seen.
The rebates are based on monthly usage, Gibbs reported.
PUSD’s solar-energy project cost $23 million and encompassed the district’s five high schools and adult school.
Breaking ground in June 2010 at Porterville High, it was completed at Porterville, Granite Hills and the Adult School in 2011. The Monache High and the combined Harmony Magnet Academy/Strathmore High School project was completed recently, taking longer because of the need for DSA clearance due to students being in direct vicinity of the panels.
The project is projected to reduce the district’s energy costs by $5 to $7 million in the first five years alone.
“Just on those six sites, we can save more than $1 million every year,” Gibbs had said in July 2010. “We’re going to have the greatest impact in reducing our costs.”
The project was funded through the Qualified School Construction Bond — a multi-million dollar loan negotiated in July of 2010 at a net cost of 1.54 percent over a 17-year term.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.