The School District of Philadelphia (SDP) has approximately 218 schools and related facilities and spends about $45 million a year for energy. The District also has over $5 billion in deferred maintenance — capital improvements to buildings that haven’t been made due to budget constraints. Since energy efficiency projects allow for bundling of some non-energy measures, they can be a helpful vehicle for addressing this maintenance backlog.
The School District of Philadelphia has moved forward with benchmarking all school buildings and is developing a database to track energy consumption in its buildings. This will allow the District to identify the “energy hogs” and better direct its energy efficiency work.
Solar Installation Training Program
In partnership with the School District’s Career and Technical Education program, Bright Solar Futures will prepare students for solar jobs. From 10th through 12th grade, participants will receive extensive instruction in solar installation, design, and sales, as well as energy efficiency, electrical basics and construction safety. Participants will be connected to opportunities for paid summer internships and employment upon graduation.
The Philadelphia Energy Authority is seeking contributions for the new Frankford Solar Lab which will house the inaugural Bright Solar Futures program. The Frankford Solar Lab will provide participants with the opportunity to apply their learning in a hands-on and project-based learning environment. The Solar Lab will be outfitted with training equipment tailored to each of the major areas of the curriculum.
PEA has been working closely with school district management to put together a pilot project to test the feasibility of larger-scale solar at the district. In the summer of 2016, we used rooftop surveys from SDP and data from eight different solar aggregators, investors and installers to assess more than 18 schools for solar feasibility. The solar report was presented to District officials and we are continuing to work with decision-makers to move forward with implementation. We are preparing a pilot of three or more schools. View the PEA solar schools report HERE.
Energy Efficiency/Energy Performance Contract Pilot
The School District has made a commitment to reduce energy consumption by 20% through energy projects by 2020. PEA is working with the district to develop an effective pilot that demonstrates real energy savings, establishes a scalable model, and is easy to replicate across the district once completed. PEA is providing consulting and process support, in particular to share best practices and help SDP overcome any hurdles throughout the pilot.