Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) recently approved a contract with ENGIE North America (ENGIE) for comprehensive solar, LED building lighting, customized sports facility LED lighting, and an integrated STEM internship and student engagement program. As the first K-12 school district along the Central Coast to leverage Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funding, VUSD will also utilize bond funding to help pay for the project and expand its technical scope which will positively improve sustainability outcomes across the District.
Serving approximately 15,000 students across 27 school and campus facility sites, VUSD leadership and the supporting community have long prioritized the design of a financially-viable energy program to capture energy savings and align with local and state climate action goals. ENGIE worked with the District to lock in favorable Net Energy Metering 2.0 rates for the next 20 years. VUSD is also committed to delivering sustainable solutions across all school sites – many of which are located in economically underserved parts of the city.
This project is financially attractive for the District and will reduce its overall electricity costs by 70 percent over 30 years. This work will be done across schools with a Southern California-based team of ENGIE project engineers. The combined project scope will include:
- 4,708 kW solar PV scope across 25 sites and parking canopy solar structures
- Interior/exterior LED lighting and occupancy sensor controls at nine sites;
- Sports Field LED lighting at Buena High School and Ventura High School, reusing existing lighting infrastructure poles to minimize extended construction impact on the fields; and
- Integrated STEM offerings aligned with real-time project data production, including professional development for teachers, hands-on engineering design learning for students, and six dedicated summer intern opportunities for local students.
The VUSD program is expected to save $133 million in energy costs over the lifetime of the project. The District should be eligible for $14 million in IRA federal funding dollars that will go directly to it after the project is completely constructed.
“As thoughtful stewards of our community’s resources, Ventura Unified has been interested in solar energy and high-efficiency LED lighting systems for many years. Unfortunately, making those changes was cost-prohibitive until recently,” stated Board President, Sabrena Rodriguez. “Thanks to the generosity of our community by passing Measure E, a general obligation bond to update our schools, we can now make these changes a reality. These changes are not only a positive step towards sustainability and resilience for the District, but they will also provide opportunities for our students and staff to learn about how green technologies can be good for the financial bottom line — creating a win-win for the community and our schools.”
"The IRA is a true gamechanger for our ENGIE customers – now that we are seeing local leaders like VUSD start to directly build out projects that leverage potential IRA funding, it is clear what a win-win this is for energy communities across the U.S.,” said Jean-Francois Chartrain, Managing Director, Energy Solutions Americas at ENGIE. “We are excited to help VUSD expedite their plan for long-term sustainability that will enhance and elevate the District’s financial and environmental impact through our range of comprehensive solutions.”
This project was specifically designed to enhance the safety and convenience of travel to and from Montalvo Elementary School for students and their families and to provide a more accessible neighborhood for the Montalvo community.
Comprehensive energy program will leverage Federal funding to implement integrated solutions at all 27 school sites and capture an expected $106 million in net energy savings.
ABC7s Philip Palmer visited Ventura last month to talk to VUSD students in the GRIT program at De Anza Academy of Technology & the Arts (DATA).
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- Buena High
- El Camino High
- Pacific High
- Ventura High