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Traditionally Red Bishop High Goes Green

Local High School Incorporates Solar Technology Into Campus Life


Bishop Diego High School is a place where traditions have always played a big role on campus. Now, thanks to generous benefactors Rick and Aurora Grimm, a new tradition has begun with the installation of 158 solar modules (SunPower 215-WHT-U) along with 5 SunPower SMA7000 watt inverters, on the roof of the main gym located at the center of the 16 acre campus.

The solar powered Brick House, Bishop Diego High School
Click to enlarge photo

The solar powered Brick House, Bishop Diego High School

Sun Pacific, a local solar provider here in Santa Barbara, installed the modules on the roof of what is affectionately known to high school sports fans as “The Brick House” and it is expected that the new technology will reduce the school’s dependence on traditional electrical sources by up to one third. Bishop will remain tied to the existing electrical grid but the introduction of this new, greener technology demonstrates Bishop’s commitment to environmental stewardship. There is a Phase II project in the works which would mirror Phase I and further enhance the school’s energy savings. Utilizing e-mail blasts for campus and alumni communication, recycling, the use of reclaimed water for irrigation, student led “BDHS Un-Plugged” and other campus wide initiatives are indicative of a new way of thinking around the school.

“We have had a very busy summer on campus with lots of capital improvements underway, but with our new solar modules up and running we still have energy to spare” said Dr. Paul Harrington, Bishop’s new Head of School.

The move toward green technology syncs up nicely with the opening of Bishop’s STEM Academy this fall. In addition to a rigorous college prep curriculum, honors and Advanced Placement classes, the STEM Academy provides students with the opportunity for a course of study emphasizing science, technology, engineering and math. “Bishop is the first high school in Santa Barbara to install a solar electric system. They are leading by example, teaching their students and families about alternative energy solutions for a brighter future” said Tom Burt, CFO and co owner with Jay Johnson, CEO of Sun Pacific Solar.

In 2010 Bishop Diego High School celebrated its 50th anniversary at the La Colina Road campus. With an enrollment of 300 students it offers an exceptional student/teacher ratio as well as all of the academic, extra-curricular and athletic opportunities found at the larger schools in Santa Barbara area. Proud of its Catholic heritage and traditions, Bishop also prides itself on being a school with a diverse student body where students of all faiths are welcome.

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Dr. Paul Harrington, please call Ashley Snider at 805-967-1266 ext. 118 or e-mail Ashley.

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