De La Salle High School invests in solar power | Centrica Business Solutions
De La Salle High School responds to call for action and installs solar power
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De La Salle High School responds to call for action and installs solar power

The California high school will save $125,000 a year on electricity costs by generating clean power with a solar photovoltaic (PV) system, freeing up budget to reinvest in their students while protecting our planet.
kWh generated annually
annual utility cost savings
of energy needs offset with solar

A call to action to protect our planet

De La Salle High School is a Lasallian Catholic high school located in Concord, California, providing education to over 1,000 young men throughout the Bay Area each year since 1965.

Sustainability is essential to De La Salle, as caring for the planet is integral to Catholic social teaching. In 2015, Pope Francis issued Laudato Si, the most comprehensive Vatican document to date on environmentalism. Laudato Si is a call to action for all people of the world – not just Catholics – to care for our common home. “And that was our call to action, to do something and to be finally able to implement a solar solution here,” said Lynne Jones, Vice President for Finance for De La Salle.

Working with a consultant, De La Salle selected Centrica Business Solutions to design and install their solar PV system. Centrica Business Solutions provided the most attractive proposal, came highly recommended by De La Salle’s consultant and “was the best provider for what we needed,” Jones explains.

A custom solution for unique buildings

Navigating the turmoil created by the COVID-19 pandemic – from building lockdowns to supply chain issues to financing partner uncertainty – Centrica Business Solutions installed eight solar PV arrays across eight buildings on De La Salle’s campus, totaling 421.42 kW in system size. All eight arrays are installed on building rooftops, enabling De La Salle to transform existing assets into sources of on-site clean energy generation.

Expert design and installation workmanship by the Centrica Business Solutions team ensured that each solar PV array maximized roof space and gave the buildings a clean appearance. Most of the panels are installed on ballasted, low-profile custom racking systems. The solar panels on the student center, the Hofmann Center, are installed flat onto the roof to complement the unique architecture of the building.

Centrica Business Solutions helped De La Salle navigate and secure financing with a pre-paid solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). With this arrangement, the school pre-pays for the clean energy their solar PV system generates at a lower rate than the utility. Because a financing partner owns the system, De La Salle does not have to worry about the responsibility of maintaining the system – they can focus their time and budget on serving their students.

Not only is it important for us to do our part to care for the planet, but this project, since it’s providing 50% of our electricity needs, should save us about $125,000 a year in our electrical bills. That will make that much money available for other programs here.”
Lynne Jones, Vice President for Finance, De La Salle High School

The results

The installation of solar across their campus enables De La Salle to demonstrate their commitment to the environment while also lowering operational costs. Their solar PV system will generate about 50% of the school’s energy requirements, enabling them to reduce their grid consumption by 626,311 kWh each year. This reduction in energy grid consumption will offset the CO2 emissions from 491,086 pounds of coal burned – to make these numbers even more tangible, that’s the carbon emissions from over 86 homes’ electricity use for one year.

The system will reduce De La Salle’s annual electricity spending by $125,000. These savings in overhead costs mean a lot to the school. Jones explains, “That will make that much money available for other programs here, from teacher pay to innovative grants to tuition assistance for our students. $125,000 would be six tuitions every year, so it will help us achieve our program goals in many, many ways.”

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