Featured Array: San Diego Unified School District

Oct 22, 2013

Featured Array: San Diego Unified School District

With nearly 200 schools, 16,000 employees, and 135,000 students, the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) needed a flexible, scalable technology to go solar. Now, thanks to Main Street Power and Enphase Energy, 29 of those schools have incorporated solar energy and a new solar curriculum.

When installing solar in schools, safety is always a primary concern. And while Enphase microinverters go to the head of the class with its low hazard risks, the Enphase System was chosen for more than just its extremely safe, low-voltage, all-AC approach. Enphase’s energy harvest boost over traditional inverters was an added bonus that made Enphase technology the perfect choice for the job.

Additionally, with Enphase microinverters, solar provider and project developer Main Street Power and the SDUSD can rely on one technology to support 3.1MW of arrays. More than 125 different arrays were installed using different angles, orientations, and sizes. Where small rooftop spaces would have made installing solar logistically impossible with string inverters, flexible microinverters can be customized to fit both the smallest of arrays as well as megawatt-scale systems. The design diversity of SDUSD’s distributed 3.1MW solar system exemplifies the flexibility and adaptive nature of Enphase microinverters.

Interested in reducing its energy costs as well as its carbon footprint, the San Diego Unified School District utilized a power purchase agreement (PPA) to go solar with no upfront costs or long-term maintenance burden with the help of Main Street Power’s unique financing package. Leveraging both new market tax credits and the solar investment tax credit, Main Street Power initiated solar development in low-income areas, exposing students at 25 different schools and their parents to both the financial and environmental benefits of solar energy.

The first solar company to pioneer this new financial approach, Main Street Power gave SDUSD a way to save money, allowing the schools to put more money back into operations, supplies, and teaching resources.

Main Street Power has also developed an innovative K-12 solar education program to be integrated into the schools’ science curriculum. In its “Train the Trainers” program, Main Street Power has taught 29 SDUSD science teachers a new curriculum about renewables, solar energy, and more specifically, what’s happening on the rooftops of the schools.

To help engage students and visitors to the schools, the lobby of each school also hosts a kiosk displaying the system’s progress and production history.

System Summary

Client: San Diego Unified School District

Location: San Diego, CA

Installer: Main Street Power

System Size: 3.1MW

Modules: Astronergy 230W

Installation: M215 Microinverter

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