On Friday, December 16, 2011, the Manzanita Community met in their gym for an Open House to celebrate the new solar energy field. Students filled the bleachers along with staff and administration to hear from Superintendent/Principal Brad Roberts, Board, President Colleen Dugan, Student Body President Marcella Anderson and Tioga Energy Vice President Mark Roper.
As explained by Roper, Manzanita School will purchase electricity from Tioga Energy, the owners of the solar energy field. Electricity will be much more affordable compared to PG&E so financial benefits will be seen immediately for utility costs. The school will save approximately $12,000 per year by purchasing energy from the solar field.
Everyone then headed outside for the ribbon cutting ceremony. The Manzanita Student Body officers held the ribbon that read, "The New Solar Electric System at Manzanita School". Mr. Roberts excitedly "cut the ribbon" opening the door for energy independence for Manzanita Elementary. The eighth grade students gave everyone in attendance a tour of the entire solar field explaining every aspect of how the solar field works.
The total cost of the solar energy field is $600,000. In the year 2017, Manzanita can purchase the solar system at approximately half of its initial cost, at $270,000. Manzanita School will be totally energy independent by 2022 and the money saved from prior electricity costs will be invested in the student's education. The estimated $45,000 - $50,000 budget for energy can then be used for textbooks, added technology or staff.
Manzanita Solar Field officially went on-line with the solar filed on December 21, 2011.
In March 2009, the Manzanita Elementary Board of Trustees developed an action plan to "seek alternative funding sources to ensure fiscal solvency for years to come" as part of the District's Strategic Plan.
Finding a way to use low-cost, clean, sustainable energy became part of our fiscal plan. After two years of searching for different options, the Board reached an agreement with Tioga Energy to build a solar plant and entered into a power purchase agreement.
Why is Manzanita going solar?
1. Cheaper Electricity
Initially Manzanita will purchase electricity from the owner of the solar field, Tioga Energy. They will sell us the electricity at a lower rate than PG&E so we will receive immediate financial benefits in reduced utility costs.
2. Energy Independence
After five years (2012 - 2017) Manzanita can purchase the solar system for about 50% of its initial cost. By 2022, Manzanita will be energy independent and money once used to pay for electricity can be invested in our students.
3. Positive Environmental Impact
The wonderful thing about solar power is that it is a renewable, clean energy source that does not pollute our environment.
4. Educational Impact
Our students need to learn to think creatively and "outside the box". Direct real-time, online solar energy information from a campus solar plant will bring real life information to the classroom for impactful learning activities for Manzanita students. This opportunity will enhance math and science skills and support student awareness of the importance of finding global solutions for sustainable energy.
Follow Actual Solar Information of the Manzanita Solar Field