On a cloudy, blustery November day in San Francisco, 33 high-school students trudged up 24th Avenue in the Sunset neighborhood to visit their local solar array.
Guided by Utility Specialist John Zech and Power Communications Manager Peter Gallotta, the eleventh-grade class, along with teachers Valerie Ziegler and Alan Calac, learned the importance and benefits of renewable energy, and the critical role the solar installation—managed by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC)—plays in San Francisco.
Specifically, the solar array provides clean electricity to thousands of the agency’s Hetch Hetchy Power and CleanPowerSF customers (even on cloudy field trip days). Clean energy projects like this are critical in reaching the goals of the City’s Climate Action Plan: 100% renewable electricity by 2025 and 100% renewable energy by 2040.
While an outing to a reservoir topped with solar panels might be unusual for most classes, it was a perfect field trip for the Green Academy students from Abraham Lincoln High School. Green Academy is a three-year Career Technical Education (CTE) program, which educates students on climate change and other challenges facing our planet. Using San Francisco as an outdoor classroom is important to the program and Ziegler. “What better way to learn how the City uses renewable energy than in our own backyard,” the teacher said.
Field trips like this are also important to the SFPUC as well. The agency offers numerous outings to various facilities (most temporarily paused due to Covid-19) to inspire the next generation to conserve water and protect our environment. Based on the feedback from the class and teachers, it sounds like mission accomplished.
To learn more about Hetch Hetchy Power and CleanPowerSF, visit sfpuc.org/power.