Chevron Energy Solutions, San Francisco, and East Side Union High School District, San Jose, Calif., recently announced the start of construction on a 3.7MW solar project that is expected to provide more than $1.5 million in budget relief to the district's general fund in the first year and $7.6 million over five years. It is anticipated that the project will reduce the district's electric utility costs by 30% and deliver $36 million in savings over the life of the project.

"Our schools will all benefit from these savings, especially in these tough economic times when they're needed most, " says East Side Union High School District Interim Superintendent Dan Moser. "Also, this project reduces our carbon footprint and allows us to incorporate solar into our teaching curriculum so our teachers and students can learn about renewable energy technologies firsthand. "

The solar panels at six school sites will generate enough power to light more than 250,000 average-sized compact fluorescent light bulbs. The district will also reduce its purchase of utility power through this project, which is expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 3,100 metric tons per year, equivalent to planting more than 980 acres of trees. Through professional development workshops, the district's teachers will learn how they can use hands-on solar kits and activity guides in the classroom to teach students about solar energy.

Chevron Energy Solutions will design, build, operate, maintain, measure, and guarantee the solar energy system's performance for the district. The project will also help stimulate the local Silicon Valley economy by hiring more than 100 local union contractors. Chevron Energy Solutions is the nation's largest installer of solar energy for education institutions and has developed hundreds of projects involving energy efficiency and renewable power for education, government and business customers in the United States since 2000.

"We are pleased to help East Side Union High School District celebrate its 60th anniversary by creating savings and learning opportunities through solar energy, " says Jim Davis, president of Chevron Energy Solutions. "This project is a prime example of how education institutions can use solar projects to provide budget relief and teach the next generation about clean technologies. "