Those of you who have driven by or have come onto campus this summer have noticed quite a bit of construction taking place at Mater Dei. It is my extreme pleasure to announce that the installation of the solar power system I wrote about on April 25 has begun.
Mater Dei has partnered with MicroGrid Energy Corporation and Pacific Power Renewables, Inc. to convert some of our energy to solar power, with no upfront cost to our school. What is taking place now is the first phase of a long-term energy savings plan. This involves the installation of solar power canopies in the Monarch Way parking lot which will be powered by 1,536 solar panels and will include charging stations for electric-powered cars and carts.
In addition, 792 solar panels are being installed on the roof of the Meruelo Athletic Center and Reed & Gail LeVecke Student Services Center. Mater Dei will now be powered by 535,400 watts of solar energy which is expected to reduce our electric power use by 25 percent. We will stay connected to the electric utility grid, but will generate electricity from the solar panels while reducing the amount of electricity pulled from the electric utility grid.
The new solar energy program will aid in the holistic education of our students, allowing us to teach students that social responsibility includes taking care of the environment and taking steps to conserve energy, which affects us all. We will work with Pacific Power to incorporate curriculum into relevant math and science courses. In addition, Pacific Power will install monitors in the LeVecke Center where students will receive information on how we as a community are reducing electric energy use and how they can take steps individually to conserve energy.
And, the overall benefit to the Mater Dei community? The savings projections reach nearly $2 million in reduced energy costs over 20 years. In addition, our schoolwide iPad program has reduced energy usage on campus due to the long power life of the devices. The cost savings will be passed directly to your students through academic, co-curricular and extracurricular programs, furthering our commitment to excellence in Catholic education.
Mater Dei’s goal is to expand the solar power project into the long-term redevelopment plans of our 63-year-old campus. Future plans include the construction of a parking structure and performing arts center which will have solar power panels installed on the roofs to increase usage of solar power campus-wide.
Thank you for your continued support in these endeavors. We encourage you to learn more about ways you can become actively involved in many of the great initiatives taking place at Mater Dei High School.
Patrick Murphy, President