California District’s Solar Portfolio Wins Environment + Energy Leader Award

A 5.67 MW Solar Portfolio by DSD Renewables that is currently in use by the San Bernardino City Unified School District in California recently won the Top Project of the Year Award in the 2023 Environment + Energy Leader Awards program, according to a news release. The portfolio is the organization’s largest installation for a school district and is playing a crucial role in helping the district meet its goal of transitioning to 100% renewable energy across all of its facilities by 2024.

According to the news release, 14 of 16 planned sites are currently complete and operational. Once the project is finished, it will generate 9,456 MWh of clean energy per year across the district’s 16 schools. The sites already in use are providing enough solar energy to offset an average of 100 percent of those sites’ energy needs, the news release reports. The last two installations have an estimated completion date of the end of 2023.

“This portfolio brings tremendous benefit to the school district,” said SBCUSD’s Director of Facilities Planning & Development, Thomas Pace. “Thanks to the hard work from the team at DSD, this portfolio will contribute to the $60 million in savings we’ve estimated in electricity costs over the next 30 years—which we’ll be able to re-invest into upgrading classrooms and other campus facilities. It’s a really big win for the district that will provide residual benefits for all of our faculty, students, and staff.”

Site-specific challenges included designing for the region’s wind and seismic conditions; following California Division of the State Architect’s new regulations, and soil- and wind-loading characteristics’ violations of special hazard zones. Much of the work also took place during the pandemic, against the backdrop of both COVID and supply-chain issues, the news release reports.

“For our largest project for a school district, this portfolio certainly came with unique and unforeseen challenges,” said Ben Jones, DSD’s EVP of Canopy Design & Structural Engineering. “But ultimately, our dedication, flexibility, and experience allowed us to overcome those hurdles and deliver valuable, cost-effective projects to the school district that will help them reach their sustainability goals. It’s really a testament to the commitment of both our team and the district for making these projects come to life, and to be selected as an E+E Leader Top Project of the Year is truly an honor.”

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].