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How California Schools Save Millions Using Energy Storage


On March 1st San Diego’s third largest school district joined a growing number of school districts in California turning to energy storage to save on energy bills. Grossmont Union High School District in San Diego’s east county region announced plans to install 7.4 megawatt hours of energy storage across 14 sites and nine district locations in a partnership with California-based Green Charge Networks.

The installation is expected to save the district more than $6.4 million over the life of the project. The energy storage system and installation will come at no cost to the district thanks to a performance-based shared savings model offered by Green Charge.

“Electricity charges for the district exceed $4 million annually and take resources that could benefit students. Any time we can find a way to cut costs without impacting our students is extraordinary,” Scott Patterson, Deputy Superintendent, Grossmont Union High School District.

According to Green Charge, the sum of their California school customers will see more than $31 million in demand charge savings. Rising utility bills are forcing school districts throughout California to consider more creative ways to lower their bills. Retrofitting campuses with LED lights, solar, and more efficient HVAC systems are just a few ways schools are working to lower their bills. However, these efficiency upgrades do not target demand charges. Reducing these charges will insure bills consistently remain low.

Most commercially available energy storage on the market today is built to reduce demand charges. Demand charges are a part of every commercial electricity bill and account for up to 50 percent of a bill – in some cases, even more. These charges are determined by the highest 15 minutes of use during a billing cycle. Even one sudden spike in energy use can send a monthly electric bill skyrocketing.

Lithium-ion batteries have become the industry’s technology of choice thanks to declining prices and improved storage capacity. Combined with predictive software, these systems work to level out spikes in energy use caused by HVAC, lighting, water pumps, and any other machinery or appliances that cause sudden spikes in power demand. Recharging when power demand and utility charges are low, storage works to shift time of use to benefit the customer without affecting building operations – essentially finding the lowest possible price for energy and making it available to the customer when they need it most.

Schools in particular are well positioned to benefit from energy storage thanks to consistent energy load profiles that peak around lunchtime and drop off after school hours when most students and faculty go home. Other Green Charge customers in K-12 education include Northern California’s Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District (Santa Clara County) and Central California’s Oak Park Unified School District (Ventura County). The company has also installed systems at a number of state and community colleges.

“Our mission at Green Charge is to use energy storage to power the world efficiently and sustainably,” said Vic Shao, CEO at Green Charge. “Green Charge was founded on the principle that public and private institutions need additional capabilities to manage their energy costs. This partnership positively impacts schools operating budget and allows Grossmont to reduce their monthly electricity bills in the process.”

Green Charge Networks logoInterested in learning more about energy storage? 

Get educated at a free webinar on Wednesday, March 23rd, at 10:00 AM (PDT) as executives from Green Charge Networks, Mountain View Los Altos High School District, and TerraVerde Renewable Partners Present “Why K-12 California schools are adopting energy storage.”

In this webinar you will learn:

  • How California schools are reducing electric bills by double-digit percentages at no cost.
  • What demand charges are and how do they affect my utility costs.
  • The right questions to ask when evaluating an energy storage vendor.
  • Why energy storage and solar are better together.
  • How to qualify for free EV charging and scholarships

Featured presenters include:

  • Stephen Kelley, SVP of Sales — Green Charge Networks
    Energy Storage and Your School: Reduce electric bills, generate revenues and provide scholarships for schools.
  • Mike Mathiesen, Associate Superintendent Business Services — Mountain View Los Altos High School District
    Customer insights: Learn from the first high school district in the US to install intelligent energy storage and EV charging.
  • Rick Brown, PhD, President – TerraVerde Renewable Partners
    Prop 39 for energy storage: Opportunity and process fundamentals.

To register please visit this link.

*This article was kindly sponsored by Green Charge Networks.

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