SK Solar designed a system that included 2 separate arrays. One array was mounted on the rooftops of newly built classrooms made from modified shipping containers. The other array utilizes solar shade structures offering a dual purpose to Oak Park High School. It provides green energy at a fixed cost and shade to the student body during their breaks on campus.
Energy savings for the district amount to a minimum of $12,000 per year and will exceed $400,000 over the lifespan of the system.
How do you reduce on-going utility expenses when your doors are open during peak hours?
You install a solar photovoltaic system.
Solar energy is not only sustainable, it is renewable and this means that we will never run out of it. It is about as natural a source of power as it is possible to generate electricity. The creation of solar energy requires little maintenance and reduces our energy consumption and expenses.
We installed a 155 kWh (kilowatt, energy measurement) system at Oak Park High School in 2015.
In a day, this system generates 604 kWh reducing our energy consumption and bill.
What is a kilowatt hour?
- 1 kWh will run:
- An energy efficient light bulb for 90 hrs and 55 mins
- A computer for 12 hrs and 40 mins
- A plasma TV for 2 hrs and 52 mins
TEAMWORK—From left, Oak Park High School students Kristen Bender, Alexis Cheney, Wendy Xiao, Rachel Convey, Dorinda Fong and Laura Cruz-Albrecht show the team spirit that helped them win a $10,000 scholarship for a solar panel project they entered in this spring’s Lexus Eco Challenge.
Oak Park Unified School District Solar Generation Snapshot as of March 14, 2016
Battery Back Up Green Charge
Rising utility costs have forced Oak Park Unified School District to consider more creative ways to lower our bills. Efficiency upgrades do not target demand charges. Reducing these charges will insure our bills remain consistently low.
Demand charges account for up to 50 percent of an electricity bill. These charges are determined by the highest 15 minutes of use during a billing cycle. Even one sudden spike in energy use can send a monthly electric bill skyrocketing.
Lithium-ion batteries have become the industry’s technology of choice thanks to declining prices and improved storage capacity. Combined with software the battery backup system works to level out spikes in energy use caused by HVAC, lighting, water pumps, and any other machinery or appliances that cause sudden spikes in power demand.
The batteries recharge when power demand and utility charges are low after school hours when most students and faculty go home. Energy is then available to us when we need it most during peak hours when school is in session.