Oct 27, 2021 | Solar Power World

Petaluma City Schools to add energy storage to existing solar projects

Petaluma City Schools made the decision to move forward with deploying two new solar + battery microgrids at its latest board meeting. In the past several years, utility power outages and wildfires in the region have threatened the district’s ability to provide access to in-person instruction and consistent education. PCS is committed to enhancing the environmental sustainability of its infrastructure and operations.

Recently, Petaluma’s Board of Education unanimously passed Resolution 1718-29, calling for a commitment to climate action through both education and an assessment of its own greenhouse gas footprint. PCS has embraced renewable energy in the past, showing early leadership in the state by installing solar PV systems at all of its school facilities, beginning in 2003. Now the district has decided to take another step on their journey towards energy independence and embrace microgrid technology.

With the support of TerraVerde Energy, the district’s energy consultants, PCS evaluated the feasibility of adding energy storage systems at campuses that had existing solar PV systems. After completing the feasibility assessment, the district and TerraVerde ran a competitive procurement process to solicit proposals from qualified firms. As a result, PCS has engaged Scale Microgrid Solutions to install 4.2 MWh of energy storage and microgrid controllers at Casa Grande High School & Petaluma Junior High School, which, when paired with the existing solar at these sites, will both reduce electricity costs and provide backup power to these campuses during power outages.

These projects will leverage funding available through California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP).

“We are really excited to be on the forefront of this creative and environmentally friendly method of providing backup power to our schools,” said Matthew Harris, superintendent of Petaluma City Schools. “With so much uncertainty and disruption over these past years, microgrid systems can provide much needed continuity for our students when there is a power disruption. This project also gives us an opportunity to put our values into action because it is aligned to one of our recently adopted district goals, which is to enhance the long-term sustainability of our organization, infrastructure and operations.”