Ameresco announced the completion of a 180-kW solar PV installation at the Montecito Union School District’s (MUSD) Nature Lab “Collaboratory.” The Nature Lab, an outdoor learning environment, was envisioned, designed and developed as a space for MUSD students to explore and experience Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) activities in a holistic and hands-on manner.
The solar array installation includes more than 450 panels that will generate more than 300,000 kWh/year of energy and offset 97% of the facility’s annual energy usage. The project is funding is provided by the Montecito Union School Foundation (MUSF), which was founded in 2018, as a result of the combination of the MUSD PTA and the Montecito Education Foundation (MEF). The project aligns with the MUSF’s mission to enhance academic, athletic and arts programs, enrich the student experience with technology, curriculum and improved classroom resources, and elevate their teachers through professional development and continuing education.
“What started out as an environmental stewardship project has turned into an endeavor that also promotes our fiscal responsibility. Plus, we have a beautiful shade structure that has become our Collaboratory: a place where students can explore, create terrific art, get messy with science and so much more,” said Anthony Ranii, superintendent of Montecito Union School District. “The Ameresco team was a joy to work with, and I felt they were a true partner in all of the Nature Lab, and not just the solar structure. Ameresco made it easy for us to be environmentally responsible, save money and create an incredible learning space for our students.”
Construction began in September 2021 and was completed to receive Permission to Operate from Southern California Edison (SCE) in October 2021.