St. John Bosco switches to solar power

BELLFLOWER – St. John Bosco High School on Thursday switched on its new solar power facility which had been under construction since May. As a result of this installation, up to 80% of the electricity required by the school will be produced by the sun.

Constructed by Xero Solar of Manhattan Beach, the solar facility has an output of 499,000 kilowatt hours of power annually, which is the equivalent of powering 56 average American households a year. The system is monitored by a Locus Energy monitoring system, and will produce a net savings to the school of approximately $70,000 per year.

Over the 25-year life expectancy of the solar panels, the energy savings are anticipated to be $3.2 million when adjusted for inflation.

“Our school has been ecologically responsible for many years with our energy efficiency program (i.e. lighting and heating), recycling efforts and paperwork reduction initiatives,” said Paul Escala, president of St. John Bosco High School. “This solar effort brings Bosco to its next step in creating a greener campus. The end result is that the majority of our school’s electricity needs will be met through the sun.”

Solar generated power will serve three facilities on Bosco’s 36-acre campus: the main academic building, the gymnasium and locker room complex, and the 5,000-seat football stadium.

“Furthermore, the savings generated by the solar generation of power will be put directly back into the future improvements at St. John Bosco High School. Both the physical plant and the curriculum will see enhancements because of this efficiency,” Escala noted. “These kinds of initiatives are critical to maintaining a top quality school which does not receive the benefit of school taxes.”

Xero Solar has installed energy-monitoring software produced by SMA-American, so that any student can log onto a live online web link via their iPad, laptop, PC or smartphone to monitor the energy produced by the system and measure its positive effect on the environment.

In addition, the school is participating in a second phase of a Southern California Edison (SCE) energy efficiency program to replace all of its existing light fixtures with high-efficiency devices.

These efforts, combined with other energy saving projects conducted over the past several years, including the school’s pool heating and pump system, gym lighting and campus air conditioning systems, will further reduce energy costs. These projects are being financed with a combination of state rebates, SCE and Sempra Energy grants, donor contributions and school investment.

Casey Yeazel, Principal of the school, said, “This installation represents one of the most extensive solar installations of all private schools in the greater Los Angeles and Orange County areas.  We are very proud of that.”

Councilman Alex Saab, a St. John Bosco alumni, congratulated the school on its “incredible solar panel project” and said he would like to see similar upgrades in Downey.

“This is something we need to do at City Hall and at city of Downey facilities,” said Saab. “I will be working with our staff and council members to bring this technology to our city. We are long overdue and need to think bigger.”



Published: Sept. 18, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 23