EMCOR Services Mesa Energy (Mesa) developed and built a solar canopy network for the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD). Serving 21 schools across the district, the solar canopies are capable of producing in excess of four megawatts of power. Within a year, this will offset the CO2 equivalent of approximately six million pounds of coal burned.
The project was completed through a Power Purchase Agreement which allows LBUSD to benefit from discounted utility rates for years to come, without having to front any of the capital to build or maintain the system.
LBUSD initiated the project as part of a larger effort to promote sustainability across the district. They sought a solar contractor with both the technical expertise and regulatory knowledge to lead the project all the way from development through completion.
Mesa served as both the prime contractor and the developer for this project, which started out with a variety of soft development tasks at each school, including site surveying and locating underground utilities.
Next, Mesa provided the canopies’ fabricated steel superstructure, installing them six-to-eight feet deep with metal rebar cages and concrete to help ensure integrity.
Then Mesa installed and performed electrical work for the racking structure and panels– supplying only the highest quality, Tier-1 products.
With the canopies in place, Mesa connected the solar array with each school’s electrical room, leveraging underground direction boring to avoid disturbing top surface. Each system was installed with a data monitoring device that tracks output and function in order to promote efficient performance and simplify maintenance.
The completed solar canopy system serves 21 elementary school sites. The canopies were primarily constructed in playground areas, offering shade to school children and helping eliminate the urban heat island effect.
Throughout each phase of the project, Mesa also lead the complex permitting process. Thanks to Mesa’s long standing working relationships with third-party organizations like California’s Department of State Architects, the project was able to proceed in a timely manner while meeting all regulatory and performance criteria.
The third largest school district in California, Long Beach Unified School District educates 81,000 students in 84 public schools in the cities of Long Beach, Lakewood, Signal Hill, and Avalon.