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Milpitas Unified School District in California Solar Program A Huge Success

School district solar program beats goals

by Shannon Barry

A Chevron representative believes Milpitas Unified School District has been a shining light for the one in three school districts within Santa Clara County now committed to or deploying solar power.
“You have given many tours to other districts in the area … and I have great confidence that you were truly a catalyst in that movement,” Lindsey Corbin, regional business development manager for Chevron Energy Solutions, said during the May 8 Board of Education meeting.
Corbin gave a presentation summarizing the third full year of production from Milpitas Unified’s solar energy project, a collaborative effort between district staff, Chevron and Bank of America that spans 14 sites.
The total cost of the lease for the solar project is $23 million and it is expected to save the district $12 over its 23-year span.
Corbin presented the solar program goals and results during the board meeting, opening the report by outlining the district’s four “pillars”: economic leadership with savings to the general fund; educational opportunities with science curriculum; environmental stewardship with a reduction in carbon; and positive public recognition and community outreach. She then focused on how the program has had an impact on each of these goals.
According to the report, the district saved more than $142,046 by going solar in 2011.
“This is based on an analysis that compares what the district spent on electricity in 2011 versus what the district would have spent on electricity if they had not pursued solar,” Corbin said.
In total over the three-year span, the report noted $426,976 in general fund relief.
“I think this demonstrates an incredible amount of fiscal prudence, responsibility and leadership,” Corbin said. “As we all know leadership is not just about acting but knowing when to act, and I commend the district for acting at a time when incentives were at their highest.”
As an educational program, she said the solar project is a living laboratory for its 10,000 students and community members, fostering energy consciousness.
Students have access to hands-on energy related lessons and activities with science kits and there is a real-time monitoring system available at XXX for each site.
Corbin said these materials coupled with Milpitas’ initiative moving forward with the project makes a difference beyond cost savings.
In 2011, the project delivered a reduction of 32,565 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
“How do we get our head around that?” Corbin said. “That’s equivalent to planting 7,000 acres of pine trees. That would be a lot of volunteer work.”
She said the system has performed better than was expected, exceeding the guarantee by 13 percent in 2011. Over the past three years, it has performed an average of 12 percent better.
“The wonderful thing about this is that all of that additional production and all the savings that that relates to goes right back to the district,” Corbin said.
Contact Shannon Barry at or 408-262-2454. Visit us on our social media sites at post and
Source: The Milpitas Post (

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