Austin Independent School District (AISD) is a public school district located in Texas’ capital.
AISD issued two competitive RFPs in 2016 and 2017, awarding each to PCI Solar. AISD cited PCI’s local presence, experience building solar at schools, organizational stability, financial strength, and safety record as reasons for awarding the project. AISD's goals were to achieve energy cost savings and make a commitment to sustainability. As educators, they also wanted to create an on-site teaching tool for students and teachers.
These complex projects required overcoming a variety of challenges such as:
- Ongoing school and community activities and associated construction restrictions.
- Close collaboration with AISD staff, facility management, and community stakeholder.
- A tight construction schedule.
PCI built the projects in two phases of four schools each. The first phase in 2016 totaled 592kW. These solar arrays were at Austin High School, Lanier High School, Metz Elementary School and Uphaus Early Childhood Development Center. Based on PCI Solar’s performance on Phase One, AISD awarded a second phase to PCI. This phase was nearly twice the size at 1,080kW and built in 2018. Solar arrays were at Boone Elementary School, Kocurek Elementary School, Galindo Elementary School, and Peredes Middle School.
The 2016 installations consisted of SolarWorld 325 watt panels, SMA inverters and Unirack racking systems. Each array includes monitoring by SMA and weather stations to track system performance and proactively identify any system issues. The 2018 installations consisted of JA solar 355 Watt modules, SMA inverters, and Schletter racking.
The completion of these projects comprised one of the largest solar projects AISD has ever had. The installations will help the district save thousands of dollars a year than can be better invested in their students rather than energy costs.