Orange Lutheran’s move to solar power is a win for the school, the community, and the environment.
Orange Lutheran is going green.
Since the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, OLu has embarked on a renewable energy project that will not only benefit the school economically, but will benefit the environment and neighboring community.
Introducing, solar panels.
Orange Lutheran recently installed 2,577 solar panels on its roof, which equates to a 733.1 kW solar panel system, one of the largest renewable energy projects for a school in all of Southern California.
The solar panels work with the sun on a daily basis. In total, they spend five to six hours per day being solar charged, producing enough electricity to last for the entire day. At night, the system does not produce electricity and any excess power that is produced, Edison buys from OLu and then distributes.
OLu fell victim to a number of power outages over the past year. The chance of those power outages affecting the school will be lessened with the new solar panel system.
The most important aspect of the project is that it will take 20 tons of carbon emissions off the grid per year and save OLu hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“Energy costs continue to rise,” said OLu CEO Todd Moritz. “OLu spends about $300,000 per year on electricity. We needed to reduce the amount of energy we purchased from Edison. While the payback on the project isn’t great, we should save over $200,000 a year.
“Furthermore, we want to be good stewards of all of God’s resources – not just money. By reducing our energy consumption, we will reduce the amount of co2 put into the atmosphere and make our planet a better place to live. We are reducing our carbon footprint by the equivalent of 42 million automobile miles over the life of the project.”
The panels are built to last between 20 and 25 years.
In addition to the solar project, OLu has delved into other initiatives to reduce its consumption, such as raising temperatures in the hallways, installing LED lighting throughout the campus, using more motion detectors and turning out lights as much as possible.
Another beneficial aspect of the solar project is that it is completely automated and web-based. The maintenance team at OLu can log on and see how much energy is being produced, if a panel is malfunctioning, and monitor other occurrences.
“Innovation is a core value at Orange Lutheran,” Moritz said of the web-based platform that accompanies the project. “In anything that we do, we will always look at innovative approaches. Whether that is in academics, with OLO and the use of iPads, or in athletics, with our speed training technology, or in the arts, with our LED theater lighting, OLu stays true to its commitment to innovation.”
Over the past year, Orange Lutheran has also installed filtered water bottle stations to go along with school drinking fountains.
“I feel it is important to stay on the cutting edge of innovation in all areas of our school, not just technology,” said OLu Chief Operating Officer Jeremy Johnston. “There are many ways we as humans can help preserve our resources. Our community at OLu is striving to save both monetary and natural resources. Solar helps us reduce our carbon footprint. The drinking fountains helps us reduce the number of plastic bottles that end up in our landfills or oceans. So I believe that OLu has an opportunity to be forward thinking not only in the classroom but in all areas.”The
Added Moritz in reference to the solar project: “We can defer the $1.8 million dollar expenditure, but the benefit to students in the long run is what counts. Having a better world for them to live, and most of our school still in operation during an Edison power outage, is more important.”
The solar panels became operational in early March and OLu looks forward to their successful operation for decades to come.
2222 N. Santiago Blvd. Orange, CA 92867 (714) 998-5151
Who We Are
Founded in 1973, Orange Lutheran High School is a comprehensive private Christian co-educational college preparatory high school, grades 9-12, that exists to help students internalize the gospel message of salvation in Christ Jesus. The culture and climate of Orange Lutheran are based on caring relationships that strengthen our community as a Lancer Family. High standards of excellence coupled with a warm, energetic atmosphere create a safe, nurturing environment where students can thrive, as they discover and develop their unique gifts, talents, and passions.