Head-Royce School has installed a total of 72kW of solar energy at its campus in Oakland, California, as part of a renovation and green building initiative. Part of the school’s mission is to inspire its students with a strong sense of community and social responsibility, and to demonstrate its own commitment to these ideals, Head-Royce’s goal is to become LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The LEED Rating System was created to transform the building industry to sustainability by providing consistent, credible standards for green building. Solar energy is an important contributor to achieving the highest LEED certifications.
After presenting a proposal to the Head of School and staff, there was the issue of financing. Leveraging its alumni community, Head-Royce was able to raise the necessary funds to cash purchase the first 53kW installation installed on the curve-sloped gym pavilion roof. Once phase one was completed, additional funds were raised, and Borrego Solar completed the second project, a 19kW middle school rooftop installation. The second installation was cheaper and easier to install because of its close proximity to the gym installation and point of grid interconnection. Trying not to disrupt the day to day learning experience, the Borrego Solar installation crews used cranes and scissor lifts to complete the installation quickly and quietly while working alongside the architects and contractors constructing the school’s new library.
The Head-Royce gymnasium and middle school installations were two of the first few Northern CA school projects to take advantage of the higher rebates offered to nonprofits through the California Solar Initiative’s Estimated Performance Based Buy-Down (EPBB) program. The CSI’s EPBB makes it easier and more affordable for nonprofit organizations to invest in solar energy. The $3.25 per watt discount back in 2007 allowed Head-Royce to receive a one-time payment of $179,000 for the two installations totaling 72kW DC STC.