A school district in southern California expects to save $250,000 a year in energy costs after installing solar panels on 16 of its campuses. The overall energy bill for the district’s 38 schools, which serve 36,000 students is expected to drop 13 percent as a result of cheaper electricity from solar and an advantageous electric rate rule in California. As long as 10 percent of the district’s total energy use comes from solar panels, the local energy company will charge it a significantly lower rate, based on its day-to-day energy use rather than peak demand. To make the deal even more palatable, the district also doesn’t have any up-front costs for the panels themselves; it entered into a contract with a Alta Energy, which will installing and maintain the panels for the next 20 years, locking in the rates Poway pays for the next 20 years. The district’s director of maintenance and facilities said the main driver for moving to solar was potential cost savings on energy bills.

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