Porterville schools install solar

Solar power continues to attract believers.

The latest comes from the Porterville Unified School District, which is installing systems totaling 3.6 megawatts at five schools. The solar panels are expected to deliver up to $44 million in gross savings over the next 30 years and "are creating needed jobs during construction," say officials with San Jose-based SunPower, which is providing its California-manufactured panels to the projects.

At Monache High School, workers are installing SunPower panels on elevated trackers to maximize energy generation by following the sun.

"It's going to be a good thing in the long run," student Kyle Hicks tells ABC30 reporter Jessica Peres. Peres' story says the system at Porterville High will also shade cars in the parking lot as well as cut the school's $2.2 million utility bill in half.

Peres lists the project's total cost at $23 million.

A look on the California Public Utilities Commission website shows a half dozen projects on its July 2012 project status update. Three totalling 45 megawatts are in Kings County, 40 megawatts in Sonoma and Lake counties, 5 megawatts in Mendota and 21 megawatts in Blythe.

Southern California Edison Turns On Solar In Porterville

A ground-mounted Southern California Edison solar project in the San Joaquin Valley - and one of the largest utility-owned sites in the state - is to be activated today. The impressive display of 29,400 panels is on 32 acres of city land adjacent to the Porterville Municipal Airport.

The panels will generate enough power for 4,300 houses, according to this Fresno Business Journal story from October. Talks of the project first arose as an inquiry more than a year ago and a lease was signed last summer. Here's an earlier story from the Porterville Recorder.

The installation is one of several owned by Edison in California. The panels are mounted and placed at a 25 degree tilt, optimum for this specific location. The utility paid the $18 million cost of the project, which is tied into a nearby distribution circuit.

Photo by edison.com