Four years ago, school district leaders said solar panels at more than 80 San Diego Unified schools and facilities would supply cleaner, cheaper power that would free up more cash for student needs – and they signed contracts with companies to make that happen.
Those promises didn’t pan out.
Only about half of those solar systems are on district rooftops and carports today. That means the district’s budget has been hit harder by San Diego Gas & Electric rate increases than it would have been if it had delivered on its solar goals.
Last year alone, the district saw its SDG&E bill increase by nearly $4.2 million, a spike it owed to a significant rate hike and a 9 percent increase in energy use.
Despite its struggles with solar so far, the district is preparing to ramp up its solar footprint with a major investment of bond funds.
“There was a sense that what we had anticipated happening didn’t happen so we had to go back to the drawing board,” said school board member Richard Barrera, who’s supported the district’s push for more solar power.
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SDG&E being a publicly traded private utility is no friend of the school district or any other rate payer. SDG&E is in the business of maximizing profits to the benefit of their stockholders and to the detriment of us. It is not in the best interest of SDG&E for San Diego Unified School District to be successful in implementing solar energy. This is why all utilities should be owned by the people, like Los Angeles owns its own utilities. If SDG&E were owned by us the people, like the school district is, they would be more interested in serving us the rate payer than serving stockholders. One other thought, who in government makes the kind of money the SDG&E management team makes? They make in the millions.
Large projects like these and even small residential solar projects should consider the use of new double sided solar panel technology. Hyper X 2 solar panels offer up to a 22.2% efficiency rating and are bifacial, meaning that they are double sided.
Instead of the old fashion 1 1/2 inch thick, aluminum framed, glass on plastic solar panels that most of the leasing companies are installing, these new next generation solar panels are only 1/4 inch thin and are made with a stronger, see through, glass on glass, frameless, construction that allows sunlight that is reflected off the roof or ground's surface to illuminating the backside of the double sided solar cells and produce additional power beyond their nameplate rating.
The new 300 Watt, 60 cell solar panels that are used in Hyper X 2 solar systems offers a better PTC to STC ratio "Real World" performance according to the California Energy Commission's performance rating listings than over 119 of SunPower's solar panel models.
And they offer a very high 94.3% PTC to STC performance ratio. They also offers a heat resistant -0.28%/degree C temperature coefficient for better performance in warm/hot climates. And a minus 60 degree C extreme cold temperature rating. And they cost far less than leased or PPA solar panels. And because they're double sided, they're ideal for carport installations.
They are doing the government dance about saying how much rent they a saving by buying a house, without mentioning the cost of the mortgage. Further more, any saving comes at the cost of the state tax payer that subsidises the systems.