Jefferson Elementary School District marks anniversary of Solar Energy and Sustainability Project with successful report

District estimates it will save $16 million in energy costs over the lifetime of its conservation and renewable energy project

Jul 09, 2015, 13:57 ET from OpTerra Energy Services

DALY CITY, Calif., July 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- During the last board meeting of the academic year, Jefferson Elementary School District officials received the good news that its conservation and renewable energy project is outperforming original savings estimates and inspiring students across the district through innovative STEM education links to the project. 

To date, the project has already reduced the district's utility use by 80%, reduced carbon emissions by over 2.2 million pounds, and improved indoor and outdoor lighting and air quality for a better teaching and learning environment.

Just one year ago, school district and community leaders cut the ribbon on this historic project that resulted in the installation of solar panels across all district school sites, electric vehicle charging stations, indoor and outdoor LED lighting upgrades, and HVAC infrastructure improvements. 

The district partnered with OpTerra Energy Services to construct the entire project in six months and created almost 50 construction jobs for local trades professionals under an agreement with the San Mateo County Building Trades Council.

"The Board of Trustees and administration are thrilled with the performance of our energy project and the impact that $16 million in savings will have on our general fund.  These dollars can be reinvested back into the classroom instead of paying utility bills every month," stated Bernie Vidales, Superintendent of Jefferson Elementary School District.

In addition to the energy-related project benefits and savings, OpTerra worked closely with the district to design Growing Stems for STEM: a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education program that ties student learning to the project and provides STEM-focused professional development for teachers. STEM Program highlights include:

  • Solar- and energy efficiency-themed education kits for 3rd through 8th grade classrooms;
  • An electronic learning kiosk at the district office and online access for all students to the real-time data and educational materials to support teachers in using the data in the classroom;
  • Professional development workshops for 3rd through 8th grade teachers to support use of solar and sustainability-themed activity sets and standards-aligned curriculum;
  • Gardening and nutrition workshop in the 2015/2016 academic year.

"OpTerra has been an amazing partner and resource to our teachers throughout this project.  Their commitment to extending this project and its impacts into the classroom has been transformational for our students.  Every day is like coming to a living science laboratory when staff, students and parents arrive on campus and see the beautiful solar panels," commented School Board President Shakeel Ali.

About Jefferson ESD: The Jefferson Elementary School District serves 6,000 students from Kindergarten through 8th grade students from four contiguous areas in San Mateo County - the city of Daly City, the Town of Colma, unincorporated Broadmoor Village, and a small section of the city of Pacifica. Daly City, with an estimated population of approximately 100,000 is the largest political unit, not only in the four areas, but also in the entire San Mateo County. The population of the four communities has a wide socio-economic, ethnic, and cultural diversity. The community is situated close to the City of San Francisco, the Bay, the Pacific Ocean, and San Bruno Mountain.  Learn more at

OpTerra Energy Services: OpTerra Energy Services is a national energy company that partners with education, government, commercial and industrial customers to implement comprehensive conservation and sustainability solutions that save money, improve assets, enhance community engagement, and help achieve long-term climate action goals. For more than forty years, OpTerra's operating divisions have successfully delivered over $1 billion in energy cost savings for partners in forty states across the U.S.  Learn more at

For more information, contact Lani Wild, Communications Manager, at 415-735-9080.


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SOURCE OpTerra Energy Services