Solar Projects at 13 Schools to Save PUSD $500k in First Year

[Edited on Aug. 30 to reflect the updated number for this solar project is 13 schools, not 14.]
By Brianna Millican, Student Intern
(Poway, CA) - The beginning of the 2023-2024 school year for Twin Peaks Middle School brought new students, new experiences, and a new solar parking structure.

Located at the front parking lot of Twin Peaks Middle School, the energy efficient parking structure has dual-purpose functionality: the solar structure provides shade for vehicles as well as cutting energy and electrical costs for the school. Parents and staff have voiced their appreciation for the new solar structure and the relief it provides from the August sun and heat. Twin Peaks is just one of 13 school sites across the Poway Unified School District installing solar projects this year.

solar parking structure at twin peaks middle school

(pictured above: Twin Peaks Middle School solar parking structure)

Construction for the solar parking structures was approved by the Poway Unified School District Board of Education in June 2022, with installation beginning in July 2023. The solar project is at no up front cost to PUSD through a Power Purchase Agreement. Poway Unified is expected to save about $500,000 in energy costs within the first year of the solar installations and about $22 million after 20 years of solar use.

Poway Unified partnered with ForeFront Power to complete the solar installation at Twin Peaks as well as at other PUSD school facilities. Construction for similar solar parking structures is currently underway at Design39Campus, Bernardo Heights Middle School, and Rancho Bernardo High School.

solar parking structure at rancho bernardo high school

(pictured above: Rancho Bernardo High School solar parking structure)

Tierra Bonita Elementary School, Sunset Hills Elementary School, Westwood Elementary School, Black Mountain Middle School, Oak Valley Middle School, Mesa Verde Middle School, Mt. Carmel High School, Westview High School, and Del Norte High School will also be installing solar projects. The sites were selected after an analysis of available space and maximum energy production and savings. The completion date for each solar project varies, but most should be installed by the end of the year.

“PUSD’s solar project stands as a testament to the school district’s dedication to reducing our carbon footprints and embracing alternative energy sources,” said Ruben Arras, Director of Facilities. “Moreover, these facility upgrades have the potential to inspire similar ventures across the region and encourage other schools to embrace sustainable energy solutions.”