Need Help? Submit a Service or Maintenance Request

Cardinal Newman High School

For several years, Cardinal Newman High School had been investigating solar solutions for the school’s energy use. They received a number of proposals, but none met the expectations they had set for their school solar project. Some even promised service or results the school’s Board found unrealistic based on reference checks and market research.

At the same time, Cardinal Newman learned they would no longer be able to use a covered outdoor lunch area they had been sharing with another school, and this also presented a problem. So when RGS Energy consultant and Cardinal Newman alumnus Jason Cotter approached the Board with a plan to install solar PV panels on outdoor support structures that would serve as a covered eating area underneath, they ran the numbers and determined they had found a winner.

Through a solar power lease, Cardinal Newman has acquired a renewable energy system that will pay for itself by 2025, and over its 25-year warranted life will provide more than $3.2 million in savings through a reduced electricity rate, solar rebates and maintenance included in the lease. Cardinal Newman raised funds for the down payment with a student Jog-a-Thon. Their monthly solar lease payment matches the amount their electricity bills have been reduced, and the project is on track to deliver a positive cash flow of more than $1.9 million over its warranted life.

Cardinal Newman’s solar energy system is comprised of 816 SunPower VP modules mounted on carport-like structures in the school’s outdoor eating area. Installation was completed in June 2012.
Size251 kW
Production388,008 kWh/year
PV modulesSunPower 308W (816 modules)
LocationSanta Rosa, CA
Online since2012
System Offsets*AnnualLifetime
Pounds of CO2589,85414,746,350
Miles driven615,30015,382,500
Trees planted6,860171,500


*Calculations based on EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator. System lifetime is assumed to be 25 years.