Newsletter: High charges lead school districts to battery power
A bank of lithium ion batteries, installed by Green Charge Networks, feeds power into a Bay Area high school, shaving down its peak demand from PG&E. The Poway Unified School District plans to install similar banks – most of them 250 kilowatts – at 10 schools in early 2016. Photo courtesy of Green Charge Networks

Newsletter: High charges lead school districts to battery power

Eight years after Mike Tarantino pulled out the stops trying to reduce electricity use across the  Poway Unified School District, he still lives with trepidation that a heat wave will spike air conditioning use, or a cold snap will prompt an outbreak of furtive space heaters.

Then electrical use and costs will surge, and the effect will be lasting, making up, for example, more than $38,000 of a total $70,000 one-month electric bill for Del Norte High School last year.

“It is a nasty tier,” Tarantino said.

The higher costs are known as “demand” charges, and Tarantino has done much to avoid them.

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