Last night, the San Rafael City School Board unanimously approved an agreement to install solar thermal heating systems for the swimming pools at Terra Linda and San Rafael high schools.
“We’ve been talking about this for years, and this project seems like it has all the ingredients we wanted,” Board President Linda Jackson said.
According to the agreement brought forward by San Rafael-based environmental non-profit Strategic Energy Innovations, solar panels will be installed at both high schools that would provide energy-efficient heating to the boilers that supply water for the swimming pools and the shower rooms.
The project already received $154,500 in funding from Pacific Gas and Electric as part of its Solar Schools program, according to SEI Executive Director Cyane Dandridge. Dandridge is also in the process of applying for an additional $210,000 from the Marin Community Fund in June.
The entire project will be funded by grants, with the schools only paying for maintenance costs after the new equipment is installed, SRCS Chief Business Official Christine Thomas said.
Last year, with the help of the Marin Community Foundation and the Marin Energy Management Team, SEI helped the Dixie School District buy and install nearly 2,000 photovoltaic solar panels on its , and and campuses.
Now, those solar panels are generating 80 percent of the district’s electricity needs while still resulting in a net impact of zero on the district’s budget, according to Dandridge.
“It’s a good money saving opportunity,” Board Trustee Natu Tuatagaloa said. “It’s always nice to have a good idea about going green but it’s always hard to find the funding to make that happen.”