La Joya ISD and Performance Services Groundbreaking Ceremony Celebrates the Start of Energy Project
District infrastructure improvements guaranteed to save $41 million in energy and operating costs over a 20-year period.
La Joya, TX. A construction project expected to dramatically reduce energy and operating costs is underway at La Joya ISD. The $23,607,813 project will update 80% of the district’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, repair the roof and skylights at La Joya High School, replace two grass football fields with artificial turf, and provide electric power conditioning systems. In addition, two pole-mounted solar arrays will generate 1.8 megawatts of clean renewable energy and is distinguished as the largest solar-energy generating school project to date in South Texas.
To celebrate the start of the project, a groundbreaking event was held on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at 9 a.m. at the location of the largest solar array—La Joya High School (604 Coyote Drive) in La Joya, Texas. La Joya ISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gisela Saenz attended and addressed the crowd.
"With this project will also come educational opportunities for our students, including an energy savings curriculum for K-12th grade, energy savings kits for classrooms, and training for teachers," said Dr. Saenz. "They will be able to study, manipulate, and visit the facility to learn about solar energy and really have a hands-on experience and encounter real-life problems on energy savings and taking care of the environment. La Joya ISD is very proud to be undertaking this project and I would like to thank our Board of Trustees for approving and supporting innovative projects like this."
The 1.5-megawatt solar array at La Joya High School will serve as a STEM-supported solar learning lab for the high school and district. The second 317.6-kilowatt array will be located at La Joya’s Juarez-Lincoln High School. The combined 1.8 MW of solar energy is expected to produce more than three million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, the equivalent to the annual electricity use of 359 homes.
"This is just another example of why La Joya ISD is second to none, ahead of the pack, and the place to be," said Lloyd Loya, La Joya ISD Director of Energy Management. "We finished our LED Project last year and after gathering a year of data, I am proud to say that La Joya ISD is saving over $100,000 a month on our energy bill. That’s over $1 million dollars a year that we can put back into our classrooms, our students, our staff, and our community."
La Joya ISD selected Performance Services, an energy savings qualified provider accredited by the National Association of Energy Services Companies (NAESCO) and ENERGY STAR Partner, to develop this phase two project, an energy savings performance contract (allowable under Texas Education Code 44.901). Phase two follows the successful completion of phase one, which improved illumination throughout the district with high efficiency LED lighting in classrooms, exterior lighting, and sports fields.
“We are proud to provide a STEM-supported K-12 solar curriculum program at La Joya ISD, which reinforces our commitment to supporting high-performing learning environments while bringing exceptional value with the project that extends to classroom learning.” said Jonathan Blackwell, business development manager for Performance Services. “The customizable curriculum is delivered through our partnership with the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project and includes teacher training and hands-on learning kits that will directly benefit teachers and students by engaging them on how their school’s solar systems work,” Blackwell added.