Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District District-wide Photovoltaic Design-Build Standards and Specifications
Santa Monica, CA

The goal of Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) as part of the District Measure BB program, among other energy use reduction, is the installation of a Photovoltaic (PV) system for producing renewable energy. There are five different schools currently under construction and renovation as part of this program.

Syska Hennessy Group was engaged to develop standards and specifications for a district-wide Photovoltaic Design-Build project. The basis of design (BOD) included master specifications, recommended tools to calculate environmental impacts, PV system sizing, load analysis, recommendation of design tools software for shading analysis and an economic feasibility analysis. The economic analysis included total system installed costs, incentives and payback analysis.

Two types of PV systems were recommended at each school campus; a grid-tied system and a stand-alone or off-grid system. Recommendations for the grid-tied system included a roof mounted, canopy mounted or thin-film (membrane) PV modules application. The roof mounted application utilizes an array of unifacial PV modules mounted on the roof. The canopy mounted application utilizes an array of bifacial photovoltaic modules mounted on the canopy. The thin-film PV system is mounted directly to the new roofing membrane.

These two systems provide the District with a renewable energy throughout with payback ranging from 10-12 years. As part of the continuing education of renewable energy, the stand-alone system will utilize an array of unifacial and bifacial photovoltaic modules and placed in plain view of students and faculty members. During the day, this stand-alone system will utilize PV modules to generate electricity which is used to charge batteries and run the DC/AC loads. In the evening, the system will switch to batteries for power source.