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Solar power lights up 15 San Mateo County schools

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A partnership between the South San Francisco Unified School District and Chevron has resulted in what’s being called “the largest K – 12 solar and energy efficiency program in San Mateo County.”

Fifteen elementary, middle and high schools in the county will be outfitted with enough solar panels to generate 1.68 megawatts of electricity, which is expected to cut annual electricity usage by half and reduce carbon emissions by more than 1,500 metric tons. Financially speaking, that adds up to a whopping $20 million reduction in costs over the next 25 years.

The upgrades are being financed through Measure J, which was approved by voters in 2010. The local bond measure provided $162 million specifically for educational means, including infrastructure improvements.

"Harnessing the power of the sun helps make our schools more environmentally sustainable, cuts their energy bills, and creates thousands of teachable moments for our students," said California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson in a press release. "That's a win-win-win proposition, for our schools and for California."

Chevron Energy Solutions designed and installed the systems, and will maintain them over the next 25 years.