News Release - Vista Grande Turns Greener as Zero Net Energy Project Ramps Up

Posted: Thursday, June 27th 2019


File Image of Solar Panels at Mira Mesa High School

SAN DIEGO - Energy efficiency is making its way to Tierrasanta’s Vista Grande Elementary School, with the launch of the second phase of the Zero Net Energy (ZNE) pilot project.

Zero Net Energy aims to increase the use of renewable energy while reducing the overall energy the campus uses. To reach this goal, solar panels are installed on the roof to convert sunlight into electricity, and the campus is retrofitted with more sustainable systems.

The first phase at Vista Grande Elementary provided energy efficient light-emitting diode (LED) lighting within building interiors. During the second phase of work, existing exterior lighting will be converted to LED, solar systems will be added, and HVAC systems will be upgraded. Together, these upgrades will reduce the overall energy usage of the campus. 

“These projects help reduce greenhouse gasses,” SDUSD Energy Utilities Program Supervisor Darin Vey said. “They also redirect energy savings back into education, where the money belongs.”

Funds for this project were made available through Proposition 39, also known as the Clean Energy Jobs Act, and are aligned with San Diego Gas and Electric’s lighting rebate program.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act helps improve energy efficiency in schools, expands clean energy generation throughout the state, and creates local green jobs. Prop 39 will fund the installation of over 38,500 interior and exterior LED light fixtures across 47 sites. Leveraging Prop 39 funding, the district is currently saving 2,018,004 kWh per year, helping offset nearly 1,427 metric tons of CO2.

The ZNE pilot project is part of the district’s commitment to combat climate change. Adopted in 2015, the Board of Education’s Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Goals aim to achieve 100% renewable energy usage in the district by 2030, increase alternative modes of transportation in student and employee commuting, reduce landfill waste in district operations, and increase water efficiency.

To date, the district has installed 48 solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, producing over 8.62 MWh of clean, renewable energy per year.  27 more sites will receive solar photovoltaic systems by the end of 2022, helping the district generate an estimated total of 21.6 MWh of clean energy and reduce carbon emissions by more than 15,274 metric tons per year.  PV solar energy production and energy savings is estimated to save the district $4.7 million per year.

Construction at Vista Grande Elementary is anticipated to be complete in January 2020.

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