Dr. Ben Churchill
Carlsbad Unified School District

Sunshine. We have plenty of it here in Carlsbad. We’re thankful for the warmth of the sun, for our near-perfect climate, and our community’s natural beauty. And now we can thank the rays of the sun for generating electricity to power our schools.

At Carlsbad Unified we believe we have an obligation to be wise stewards of our environment, and we are committed to protecting our natural resources. Our commitment is reflected in the district’s 2018 school construction bond, Measure HH, which budgets $6.5 million for sustainability projects on our campuses. By passing this bond measure, voters demonstrated their support for our plans to make renewable energy upgrades to our schools, and to save money at the same time.

New solar panel shade structures have been installed in some of CUSD’s school parking lots.

In collaboration with the school board and district leadership, our energy consultants undertook an audit of our current energy usage and future energy needs. A plan was created to maximize Measure HH funds to develop a sustainable energy plan that promised the greatest return on investment and the most significant environmental impact. Solar energy would reduce our carbon footprint in a clean and cost-effective manner.

You might have seen our new solar panel shade structures in some of our school parking lots. We have recently completed the installation of solar panels to generate energy, and the batteries to store it, at six campuses (some of which have our largest energy utility bills): Aviara Oaks Elementary and Middle School, Calavera Hills Elementary and Middle School, Carlsbad High School, Sage Creek High School, Valley Middle School, and Buena Vista Elementary. We have also upgraded our HVAC and lighting systems districtwide to more energy efficient alternatives.

By investing now we will reap the benefits of fiscal savings into the future. We estimate that we will immediately save $350,000 a year on our energy bills, which we can budget back into our instructional programs.

Addee Rhee, a student at Carlsbad High School, said, “It is important for Carlsbad to use renewable energy. Not only are we providing a great source of energy for our schools, but we’re also inspiring other schools and our community to convert to renewable sources of energy as well.”

We are grateful to our community for entrusting us to improve your schools. Thanks to the community’s support, we see a bright future ahead for our Carlsbad students.