Alamo Heights Independent School District (AHISD) is a school district in the incorporated city of Alamo Heights, Texas. Alamo Heights is located within the city of San Antonio, about 5 miles north of downtown. It serves several surrounding areas, including Olmos Park, Terrell Hills, and San Antonio itself.

The Situation

Alamo Heights ISD (AHISD) in San Antonio, TX issued two competitive RFPs in 2011 and 2013. The goal was to design and build a total of seven turnkey, grid-tied solar systems on various school facilities. These complex projects required overcoming a variety of challenges such as:

  • Consideration of local utility CPS Energy’s interconnection requirements.
  • Installation of both roof and ground mount systems.
  • Ongoing school and community activities and associated construction restrictions.
  • Close collaboration with AHISD staff, facility management, and community stakeholders.
  • A tight construction schedule.

In 2011, AHISD contracted PCI Solar to design and build two solar projects totaling 630kW-DC. These solar projects were for Alamo Heights High School and Woodridge Elementary School.

In 2013, AHISD doubled-down on sustainable energy by contracting PCI Solar for another five projects. These solar projects were for Alamo Heights Junior High, Howard Elementary, Cambridge Elementary, Robbins Elementary, and AHISD’s plant services building.

The Solution

These first two projects in 2011 secured a $0.27/kWh Feed-In Tariff from the CPS Solartricity Program. The Solartricity Program enabled Alamo Heights to generate renewable power and deliver it directly to the grid. This helped support both the schools and surrounding communities. The 2011 installation consisted of (2,469) Suniva 255W monocrystalline solar modules and (30) high-efficiency SMA transformerless string inverters.

The next five projects in 2013 utilized the CPS Net Metering program. The program allows the schools to store excess energy as electricity credits towards their electrical costs. The 2013 installation consisted of (1,404) Hanwha 290W polycrystalline solar modules and (22) high-efficiency SMA transformerless inverters.

The Success

Since inception, AHISD’s two installations from 2011 have generated 3,683,633 kilowatt-hours (kWh). The solar installations lowered their carbon footprint by an estimated 2,644 tons of CO2 to date. AHISD could also offset costs equal to $994,500, and educate their students on the importance of sustainability efforts.

The next five projects generated 1,074,755 kWh and further lowered AHISD’s carbon footprint by 771 tons CO2 to date. These projects also helped introduce more renewable energy to the surrounding community.

Alamo Heights ISD has been an early and strong adopter of solar power in the San Antonio area since 2011. This has helped them support sustainability goals and renewable programs in the region.

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