West Side Union School Becomes Even Greener With Solar Energy
West Side Elementary near Healdsburg, a beautiful country school nestled among redwoods and orchards in a valley fed by spawning streams, fosters a deep appreciation for the environment by students, faculty and staff. True to its green ethic, West Side just completed installation of a 32kW solar energy system.
Superintendent / Principal Rhonda Bellmer, spearheaded this addition to the school. "Not only will the system reduce West Side's carbon footprint, it will also considerably reduce the school's energy expense, allowing re-direction of that portion of the budget to educational purposes."
Designed by Persinger Architects of Sebastopol, Pure Power Solutions, a Healdsburg-based solar energy contractor, is building the project, scheduled for completion before the end of the year. The system includes 102 LG solar modules with micro-inverters from Enphase, a Petaluma company. The solar energy system will directly feed the school's electricity needs, offsetting purchases from PG&E. When the system produces more electricity than the school requires, excess production will feed into PG&E's infrastructure, earning the school a credit on its utility bill and supplying green energy to other local users.
Supported by the solar energy system, and furthering West Side's commitment to carbon emissions reduction, West Side is installing two electric car charging stations for use by parents, faculty, staff and visitors, making it one of only two schools in Sonoma County to do so. "Leading by positive example is a primary teaching objective at West Side," says Ms. Bellmer.
Funding for this project is provided by State Proposition 39.