Walla Walla High School’s new Science Building will generate its own clean, renewable power thanks to a $100,000 funding award from Pacific Power’s Blue Sky program participants. The grant will support the installation of solar panels at the facility slated to break ground this fall thanks to last November’s voter-approved replacement bond measure. The approximately 50kW array will defer about 5% of the annual power consumption used by the entire Walla Walla High School campus. The system will also offset approximately 33.9 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. This is equivalent to 3,819 gallons of gas or 78.6 barrels of oil consumed or 4.3 million cell phones charged per year.
“By generating our own electricity, we’ll save on energy costs allowing us to dedicate more of the school district’s budget to our core vision of Developing Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “This solar project is not only a win for the environment but will also provide an interactive learning tool for our environmental science classes and students interested in renewable energy careers.”
Walla Walla Public Schools joins more than 120 organizations across Pacific Power’s service area that, since 2006, have received awards for community-based renewable projects, including solar, wind, geothermal and other forms of renewable energy. This project is one of a dozen selected this year through a competitive evaluation process.
Blue Sky is an opt-in program that gives Pacific Power customers an option to match all or part of their energy use with renewable energy -- reducing their carbon footprints and driving demand for new renewable energy in the West. Through the Blue Sky Block option, participants also support qualifying, renewable energy projects for community-serving organizations such as schools, community centers and arts organizations.
“For 20 years, the Blue Sky program has offered Pacific Power customers a simple and powerful way to live their values, reduce their carbon footprint and support renewable energy,” said Bill Clemens, Regional Business Manager at Pacific Power. “Unlike most green power programs, Blue Sky goes beyond the purchase of renewable energy credits to help fund additional smaller energy projects for organizations in our communities. Through projects such as this, Blue Sky participants are powering a better future for local communities.”
PHOTO: Blue Sky Grant Program project at Walla Walla Community College