SFPUC Brings More Solar to Local Schools with Completion of Two New Sites

More students across the San Francisco school district are now learning in classrooms powered by solar energy harvested above their heads.

The SFPUC’s Power Enterprise Distributed Energy Resources (DER) team has much to celebrate this new year with the completion of two new rooftop solar projects at Philip and Sala Burton Academic High School (Burton High School) and Starr King Elementary School. These installations will serve over a third of each school’s energy usage while producing local renewable energy. Both projects are part of the 23 City solar installations operated and managed by the SFPUC under the Hetch Hetchy Power portfolio.

Solar panels make their final descent to their new home on the roof of Burton High School.

Philip and Sala Burton Academic High School

  • Location: Visitation Valley
  • Solar Array Capacity: 141 kW

Starr King Elementary School

  • Location: Potrero Hill
  • Solar Array Capacity: 32 kW
SFPUC electricians preparing to connect the solar string to the inverter at Starr King Elementary School.

Beyond providing the schools with clean energy, the installations provide students, staff, and community members an opportunity to learn first-hand about solar energy.

SFPUC Utility Specialist Chris Paras noted, “We have enjoyed partnering with the San Francisco Unified School District on these ventures. Schools are a great setting for solar installations because they allow so many people to have a direct connection with this technology.”

The Starr King project also marks the first solar PV system constructed by the SFPUC’s Utility Field Services (UFS) team which was responsible for every aspect of this installation from crane lift to closeout. Going forward, the DER team and UFS will work together to build more in-city solar projects.  

For the SFPUC DER team, Chris Paras, Rodel Ocampo, Ian Anonuevo, and Jamie Seidel, the work is not done. The team will continue to select and manage the installation of new solar arrays on City-owned property and has additional projects slated for completion in 2020 – stay tuned.

The team that supported the solar panel lift at Burton High School.
The team that supported the solar panel lift at Burton High School.