News | May 9, 2017

Amador County Public Schools' ‘Amador GOLD' Program To Save $17.2M Through Integrated Solar And STEM Initiative

Jackson, CA /PRNewswire/ - Amador County Public Schools (ACPS) celebrated the beginning of its new, district-wide Amador GOLD initiative during a ground breaking event at Argonaut High School yesterday. Through a collaborative partnership with OpTerra Energy Services, Amador GOLD represents a new approach to enhancing the learning environment both inside and outside of the classroom. With construction starting this summer, ACPS celebrated the beginning of its comprehensive sustainability program that will generate renewable energy, while offering STEM educational opportunities for students and teachers tied to energy science. The program is expected to save the district $17.2 million in energy savings.

Going for the GOLD
In October 2016, OpTerra received unanimous approval from the ACPS board to move forward with Amador GOLD, centered on leveraging a comprehensive energy program to enhance four key areas of student-facing activities:

  • Growing STEM Offerings
  • Opportunities for Engagement
  • Leading by Example
  • Designed to Promote Learning

Over the past seven months, ACPS has worked closely with a Sacramento-based team of OpTerra engineers to conduct a district-wide energy assessment and analysis of all school sites and district property. Working collaboratively with the ACPS facilities staff, the team has identified the best opportunities for both on-site solar energy generation at Argonaut and Amador High School, as well as wide scale lighting retrofits, HVAC replacement, and new energy control installations at every school site in the District.

As part of OpTerra's commitment to building positive educational impact as well as upgrading the energy profile at the District, the OpTerra education team is partnering with principals and teachers to design hands-on activities using the solar production data as a platform for direct STEM learning. The education offerings will range from professional development opportunities for teachers to internships that will provide real-world, work-based learning experiences for high school students across the District.

Energizing Long-Term Success
With the program officially kicking off this month, ACPS' solar and site modernization plan is set to accomplish the following:

  • $17.27 million in expected net savings over the 20-year program life
  • 1.074 megawatts of solar photovoltaics at 3 sites
  • 6,800 interior/exterior lighting fixtures retrofitted with LEDs across 14 sites
  • Estimated 57 local jobs created, associated with program implementation during construction
  • 2,179 metric tons in CO2 emissions eliminated per year, equivalent to removing 460 cars from the road

Recognition from State Leaders
During Monday's groundbreaking celebration, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson recognized the District for its leadership launching Amador GOLD. Superintendent Torlakson shared that, "On behalf of the State Department of Education, I'm very proud of what is happening here at Amador County Public Schools – a historic and unique public private partnership with a California-based energy partner, OpTerra Energy Services. When we open our minds to these opportunities, it is clear that many great things can happen for our students and our communities."

Solar canopy structure implementation will begin at school sites this summer to avoid any disruption to class schedules. As Amador County Public Schools' energy work continues to unfold, the District looks forward to engaging with the community to promote milestones and new successes throughout the next school year.

About Amador County Public Schools: Learn more at or contact David Vicari, Public Information Officer, at

About OpTerra Energy Services:
OpTerra Energy Services is a national energy company that works with education, local government, commercial, industrial, and institutional organizations to implement efficiency and sustainable energy solutions that save money, enhance safety, improve assets, and protect the environment. As a subsidiary of ENGIE, the number one energy efficiency services provider in the world, OpTerra Energy Services provides a unique and extensive set of energy and sustainability management services to thousands of customers across the U.S. The company has provided more than $2 billion in energy savings for its customers over the past 40 years. For more information, please visit or contact Lani Wild, Communications Manager, at 415-735-9080.

SOURCE: OpTerra Energy Services

Copyright 2017 PR Newswire. All Rights Reserved