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School District Pairs Induction Lighting With New Solar Canopy Carports in Woodland, CA

By Kyle Leighton

The Woodland (CA) Joint Unified School District (WJUSD), with support from SolarCity, recently completed a model sustainability project that has brought solar power systems and energy-efficient lighting to 10 sites, mostly schools, in the district.

The UC Davis California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC) assisted the district in selecting energy-efficient adaptive lighting for the solar-paneled carports at its four newest Phase 2 solar sites.

Together, the new technologies are expected to save the district more than $20,000 on electricity costs in their first year of operation alone. Such adaptive lighting also can reduce light pollution and enhance security, the company says.

The carports feature 70-watt energy-efficient induction luminaires from EverLast Lighting. The bi-level canopy fixtures are equipped with motion sensors that adapt light levels to real-time needs, providing full light output when people approach and reducing lighting power when the areas are vacant.

The SolarCity arrays, which consist of more than 8,800 panels, will provide enough clean power to offset about 68% of electricity needs at the 10 sites where the solar panels were installed, the company says.

“This is great news and really an important next step,” said Michael Siminovitch, Director of the CLTC at the University of California, Davis. “We are seeing a growth in photovoltaic [PV] parking canopy applications throughout California and nationwide,” he said. “But without adaptive lighting controls integrated into these installations, we are missing a huge opportunity for energy savings.

 “The pairing of solar canopies with adaptive lighting is a design standard at UC Davis and, now, at Woodland Unified,” Siminovitch said. “Hopefully, going forward, this will become the standard in K–12 schools across California.”

A recent CLTC press release reported that “the control technology saves an estimated 7% of the energy harvested through the PV canopy when it is paired with induction light sources.

“In local retrofits where induction lamps and bi-level controls replace high-pressure-sodium (HPS) lamps, savings reach about 17%, according to calculations by CLTC’s engineering team. This translates to 17% more power without any additional solar paneling, a big benefit for parking facilities.”

The adaptive lighting strategy applied in this project emerged from PIER-funded research and development conducted through CLTC, beginning in 2006. The solution was demonstrated, proven effective, and adopted by UC Davis in a campus-wide lighting retrofit for parking lots and garages.

“Proprietary to the manufacturer,” EverLast VP Justin Baldwin said, “our bi-level option includes an advanced internal heat management system designed for separation and airflow between the ballast and lamp.

“By isolating specific areas, the technology is able to ensure [that] electronic components have a longer life cycle,” Baldwin explained. “When developing the technology, we also took into consideration fixture maintenance and ease of installation.

“EverLast has successfully installed several large-scale facilities across the country, and our garage fixture is one of the latest in a long line of innovative lighting solutions.” The 70-watt bi-level canopy fixtures are only part of a comprehensive line of advanced induction solutions that the company offers, he said.

“Bi-level lighting technologies for parking lots and parking structures is one of the most effective strategies for deep energy savings, as well as for the potential to enhance safety and security,” said the CLTC’s Siminovitch.

Bi-level fixtures are designed to dim to 40% power when an area is vacant and step back up to 100% upon occupancy, the company said. In addition, the units have significantly lower glare than most other induction sources, and especially over LED.

“Today, K-12 school officials are tasked to continue facility improvements with a shrinking budget,” said Alex Orr, EverLast VP of Sales. “By combining the solar canopies with our lighting fixtures with adaptive controls, the return on investment exceeded expectations and potentially could fund future sustainable projects.”

A SolarCity official said the Woodland Joint Unified School District paid nothing upfront for the solar systems, and the energy-efficient lighting was included in the monthly purchase of energy. The company provides free installation, maintenance and ongoing monitoring over the course of the 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

The solar electricity cost also is reduced by a performance-based incentive provided by PG&E and the California Solar Initiative, the company said.

WJUSD Energy Manager Rob Hutchinson said, “Solar power and the deployment of advanced lighting technologies are two tools that help us continue to decrease our operating costs as well as our carbon footprint.”



Contact Kyle Leighton, Public Relations Director for EverLast Lighting, at kyle@everlastlight.com. Additional information for this article was taken from news releases provided by SolarCity and the UC Davis California Lighting Technology Center.

Article Abstract from March, 2014




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