Desert Sands USD completes largest Prop. 39 Energy Project in California

Mar 11, 2015, 17:27 ET from OpTerra Energy Services

SAN FRANCISCO, March 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- During their February 2015 Board Meeting, Desert Sands USD unanimously approved the project close-out of its district-wide energy program with OpTerra Energy Services, making this initiative the largest Prop. 39 energy project completed in California to date.

From $6.4MM in Prop. 39 Funds to $19.5MM in Long-term Energy Savings
Following the receipt of an expenditure plan of $6.4MM from the California Energy Commission in 2014 as part of Governor Brown's Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39), Desert Sands partnered with OpTerra Energy Services to deliver energy efficiency upgrades across campuses on an aggressive timeline. In only seven months, Desert Sands' entire program was designed, constructed, and implemented, putting it on track to save the district an expected $19.5MM in lifetime energy savings.

Prop. 39 Plants the Seed for a Larger Program
In order to address deferred maintenance needs while improving the learning environment, Desert Sands USD leveraged its Prop. 39 dollars to modernize older schools and generate enough savings to pilot a renewable energy project. Desert Sands maximized the impact of Prop. 39 to minimize the district contribution to the comprehensive program. Coupled with utility solar incentives and innovative financing, using Prop. 39 as a foundation to build a larger program has enabled Desert Sands to pay for the project in less than six years.

Once the program is completely paid off, the district will start to see even more dramatic results, receiving over $1MM/year in annual savings from Years 7-25 of the program. By utilizing Prop. 39 funds to jump start their energy program, Desert Sands will be able to redirect capital funds previously allocated to cover energy costs to provide general fund relief instead.

Delivering Much-Needed District Upgrades
Desert Sands' excitement over using Prop. 39 funds to jump start much-needed infrastructure issues is now coming to life.  The following energy efficient and renewable energy upgrades are transforming the quality of both building performance and comfort for over thousands of students every day:

  • Over 6,700 new LED classroom lighting fixtures across 5 sites
  • New solar shade parking canopy at Palm Desert High School
  • 153 new HVAC units at La Quinta High School

This comprehensive, innovative energy program is part of Desert Sands' broader efforts to save energy, reduce carbon emissions, and redirect utility budget costs to support other essential district initiatives that improve the quality of the learning environment for students, faculty, and staff.

About OpTerra Energy Services:
OpTerra Energy Services, based out of San Francisco, is a national energy company that partners with school districts, cities, and counties to implement comprehensive sustainability solutions that save money, generate revenue, improve assets, and protect the environment. OpTerra has worked with over 75 public sector partners across California, including 20 K-12 districts developing Prop. 39 programs since 2014. Learn more at

For more information on Desert Sands' Prop. 39 program, please connect with Crista Curtis, Business Development Manager, at (951) 830-5215.

Logo -


SOURCE OpTerra Energy Services