Interactive Learning Solar Power System Installed in Washington DC School

Interactive learning solar power system Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools
Interactive learning solar power system Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools

Washington D.C.’s Parkside Campus of Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy (Chavez Schools), is now host to an interactive learning solar power system. Completed at the end of last year, the 170-kilowatt rooftop system will provide nearly 12 percent of the school’s annual electricity use while providing hands-on learning for students, staff and visitors. Standard Solar, Inc., a leader in the full-service development, construction, integration, financing and installation of solar electric systems, developed and installed the ballasted rooftop solar system. 

“I congratulate Nextility, Standard Solar and Cesar Chavez schools,” said Tommy Wells, acting director of the District Department of the Environment. “It’s inspiring for a school dedicated to promoting good public policy for our community to be committed to powering their facility with clean, renewable energy. It’s not just a teaching tool for students but a great example for all school buildings in the District of Columbia.”

Chavez Schools are a leading public school option that receive per-pupil funding from the District of Columbia (D.C.) and is free to all D.C. residents. The schools’ mission is to prepare scholars to succeed in competitive colleges and to empower them to use public policy to create a more just, free, and equal world. The Chavez Schools’ core values are driven by the desire to empower scholars to become change agents in their communities and in the world. Included as part of the solar project is an interactive web-based solar monitoring program which will be accessible within the Tiger Woods Learning Center at the school–one of six in the country. Students and teachers will have hands-on tools to learn more about how solar electricity is generated, how production can be forecasted and see the effects of various weather conditions.

“We are proud to be one of the first to bring green technology to Ward 7,” said Chavez Schools CEO Joan Massey. “At Chavez we want our students to become agents of change for all issues, including those related to conserving the environment, energy and resources. We are thankful to have had the opportunity to partner with Nextility and Standard Solar to make this a reality.”

The array, which is expected to produce 212,300 kilowatt-hours of power per year, will offset 331,765 metric tons of carbon dioxide which is equal to the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of 20 average American homes for one year.

“This project is a concrete example of how local and national public policies promoting clean energy and best energy management practices enable solar to be affordable—what better way to demonstrate the value of the school’s public policy curriculum,” said Tony Clifford, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Solar. “And, since the school operates on 100 percent electricity, this solar project is a powerful economic value, providing significant savings from day one.”

Nextility, a DC-based energy savings company, financed the project through a guaranteed-savings agreement that ensures the school’s rates are always lower than the utility’s. At the end of the 15-year agreement, Chavez Schools can own the system and receive all of its financial and environmental benefits.

“As a DC company, we couldn’t be more excited to bring clean, renewable energy to our local schools,” said David Hoedeman, Director of Business Development at Nextility. “We hope this project helps inspire all of DC’s schools to choose solar energy and lower electricity bills.”

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This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.

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