San Diego Jewish Academy begins development on 800-kW solar + storage challenge

San Diego Jewish Academy begins construction on 800-kW solar + storage project

The San Diego Jewish Academy (SDJA), a pluralistic K-12 school with a thriving center for early childhood, marked a major milestone in the school’s ambitious Sustainability Initiative (SI) with the start of its 800 kW solar project School on the way to self-tolerance.

“SDJA’s vision of an ambitious, future-oriented sustainability initiative is part of our strategic efforts to become even stronger, both environmentally friendly and financially,” said Zvi Weiss, headmaster. “The initiative directly reflects our Jewish value, Bal Tashchit, in protecting the earth.”

The project includes the installation of solar panels on most of the school’s building roofs as well as on newly built carports in the upper level parking lot. Upon completion in March 2021 and the addition of a large energy storage system on campus, SDJA will save approximately $ 400,000 annually from generating its own electricity. In addition, the project design contains a roadmap for the development of the SDJA campus into a microgrid, which would make SDJA completely self-sufficient in covering its energy needs. While some college campuses have achieved this, SDJA is not aware of any independent school in the US that puts SDJA at the top.

“As part of the SI, we plan to earn the US Department of Education’s Green Ribbon School award,” said Michael Zimerman, SDJA’s chief sustainability officer (CSO). “In addition to reducing the environmental impact and costs, and improving the health and well-being of our students, the“ Green Ribbon ”award also includes environmental and sustainability programs. We imagine that our SDJA students will learn the technology and operate the control of the eventual microgrid on our campus, with the aim of becoming the first independent K-12 school to install a completely self-sufficient microgrid along with many other great ones Educational experiences. “

SDJA’s sustainability initiative spanned many innovative, historic and creative steps, including the creation of SDJA’s current home, the 56-acre Jaffe Campus, which provides the foundational platform for the development of the SI, and the appointment of Zimerman as CSO of the schools in the September 2019 Reach out to school leaders, staff, suppliers, parents, students, and the wider community to address sustainability issues. SDJA is one of the few, if not the only, K-12 school in the country with a CSO.

“This initiative brings together so many aspects of SDJA learning and community experience – our school garden, the value of repairing the world (Tikkun Olam), student wellbeing and nutrition, sustainable entrepreneurship and working with other local organizations,” adds Weiss added. “On our way to sustainability, there will be many opportunities for the engagement of students, employees and parents.”

Message from the San Diego Jewish Academy


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