Solar Batteries: a Greener Solution

Categories: Solar Energy

The purpose of the Business Gives Back competition, Tesla’s Project Management Team has constructed a plan to present to the Dallas Chamber of Commerce. This plan is not only created to solve the pollution problems in Dallas but is also meant to create a more sustainable means of operations for educational institutions. We hope that by installing solar panels on the roofs of public high schools in the Dallas Independent School District (DISD), these goals can be achieved. TeslaOur mission is to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy” (About Tesla, n.

d.). To do this, we manufacture our original and unique products, such as Powerwall, Powerpack, Solar Roof, and, our solar panels. Our products are designed to help many people and businesses manage their energy usage and storage. We are increasing the transition to clean transportation and energy production by making our products more accessible and affordable to people. We want a future where electric cars, batteries, and renewable energy are combined to create an energy-saving environment.

Past Contributions Tesla partners with America’s largest nonprofit solar panel installer to power 150 U.S. low-income households, providing “sustainable solar energy, energy cost savings, and valuable hands-on solar experience” (D’Angelo, 2017). The Cathedral College in Rockhampton, Australia, powers the dorm using Tesla Powerpack and 100kW solar system (D’Angelo, 2017). Tesla uses its solar panels to restore electricity at San Juan’s Hospital del Niño in Puerto Rico (Chappell, 2017). Tesla signed a letter promising to give $37.5 million to Nevada’s public schools for over 5 years (Ryan, 2014).

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Background What is Solar Energy?

Solar energy is renewable energy that is harnessed from the Sun. It is the most abundant and cleanest energy resource on Earth, and over the years, has become the world’s cheapest form of electricity.  These facts demonstrate its usefulness and impact on society in many ways: Most television and communication satellites are powered by solar energy (Doolittle, 2015). 173,000 terawatts of solar energy continuously hit the Earth, which amounts to more than 10,000 times the world’s total energy use (Doolittle, 2015). Rooftop PV systems’ prices declined in the market by 29 percent from 2010 to 2013 (Solar Power on the Rise: The Technologies and Policies behind a Booming Energy Sector, 2014). A solar PV system is being installed every 4 minutes, according to Green Tech Media (GTM) research (Gilpin, 2014).  The cost to install solar panels has dropped by 70% since 2010, as demonstrated in the graph below (Solar Industry Research Data, n.d.). ProblemsPollutionA report released by the American Lung Association claims that “ozone levels worsened in Dallas-Fort Worth. The metroplex is now ranked as the 7th most polluted city in the nation when it comes to ozone” (Lockwood, 2015). Many vehicles on roads give off greenhouse emissions. Furthermore, houses and businesses use electricity and burn natural gas which contributes to air pollution and creates smog as shown to the right (Air Quality, 2018). Air pollution also contributes to health issues, such as Irritation of breathing Decrease in life expectancy Triggers asthma symptoms causing lung and heart diseases school Budget CutsThere have been growing problems in the budgets of Dallas Schools, especially ones with DISD. In the spring of 2016, “Superintendent Michael Hinojosa cut $60 million from the budget to expand important programs, such as pre-K” (Dallas Morning News, 2017). Within the budget cuts, one counselor from each high school was cut, and almost a dozen schools lost a librarian. This is concerning because counselors are vital to student success and achievement. Their guidance help students who have less support at home, and have needs that range from social to emotional. On the other hand, the loss of librarians is also concerning because they help encourage reading in students and improve research techniques. Furthermore, they work with teachers and staff to obtain materials needed for classes. Although counselors and librarians are chosen to be cut because they “least directly provide services on a day-to-day basis for students,” they are still vital parts of Dallas schools (Dallas Morning News, 2017). Solar Panels in Schools The decline in the cost of solar panels has made solar energy more affordable and accessible, creating many benefits for schools. It helps schools save money and energy for educational purposes. These facts demonstrate the findings and growing impact of solar panels on schools over the years: Over 5,000 schools now use solar energy in the United States at “double of the total solar capacity installed at schools in 2014” (Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools, n.d.).

The chances of a school having a solar energy system correlate with grade level. As grade level increases, the chances of having a solar energy system increase (Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools, n.d.). The Solar Foundation found that “450 individual school districts could each save more than $1,000,000 over 30 years by installing a solar PV system” (“Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools,” n.d.).According to the Superintendent of the Scottsdale Unified School District outside Phoenix, after switching to solar power, it had a “$20 million budget decrease in two years, with 90% of their budget going to staff, 6% going for power and 4% going for supplies” (The Benefits of Solar Power for Schools, n.d.).By installing solar panels in DISD schools, we hope to provide them with these same benefits. We aim to help them save money and use energy efficiently.

Proposal How Many People Can This Effect?

By installing solar panels on the four most populated high schools in Dallas ISD, the amount of money spent on electricity bills will decrease. This, in return, will directly help about 11,665 students from these schools. The extra money saved can go towards hiring more counselors and teachers, buying more textbooks and equipment, and funding educational programs. Indirectly, that money saved will also benefit the entire district, helping an estimated 147,866 students and 20,757 school employees. As the school years pass by, the number of people impacted will gradually increase, and educational programs will have more funding.  Plan of ActionOur goal is to save the city of Dallas and DISD money through the use of clean solar energy by dropping energy consumption by 20% in each of the four largest high schools in DISD. This will be achieved by installing Tesla’s solar panels. How Does Going Solar Help Save Money? When the school can generate its solar power, it can reduce the electricity bill significantly. The exact savings depends on the size of the solar power system and the school’s electricity usage. If the solar power system generates more electricity than the school can immediately use, excess energy flows back to the utility grid (Starrs, 2015). The utility company used may pay the school or credit it for this electricity.

This can especially be beneficial to schools during the summer when the days are longer of direct sunlight, in addition to lower energy consumption due to fewer students and classes. How Will We Know How Much Solar Energy is Being Generated? In addition to the solar power equipment, Tesla provides access to an app (available via smartphone, tablet, or desktop) that gives real-time visibility of the solar production of each school (Tesla Support, n.d.). This will allow people to know how much solar energy is being generated. Chosen SchoolsTo impact Dallas as a whole, and not just certain areas and sectors, we have decided to choose the most populated high schools from the north, west, east, and south. The schools chosen are North: WT White High SchoolEast: Moises E.Molina High School West: Skyline High SchoolSouth: W.W Samuell High SchoolSix Step Scheduling and Installation Process Outline Site assessment solar professional will come to the school to visit and carry out a site assessment. The professional would have already prepared beforehand by looking at Google maps, checking the azimuth, the direction of the roof, and the shading on the property to better coordinate where the solar panels are to be placed (Careers in Solar Power, n.d.). He or she will also confirm the system design, verify measurements, inspect the roof or property to adjust for a more precise measurement of shade and work with obstructions that are blocking the roof. This process usually takes 1-2 weeks.

Design Approval

After the site evaluation, the solar design expert will make any number of adjustments to the solar power system plan, quote, and the best way to build the conduit to make everything look perfect. This process takes 1-3 weeks permitting the next step is getting permission from the city to start construction. This is a challenging phase because we would have to depend on bureaucracy. In some jurisdictions, the wait for this can be quick. However, in others, it can take much longer than desired. In this case, Tesla’s solar professional will be accompanied by a permitting expert who will get to know his or her government officials and develop a rapport with them (Richardson, 2018). Tesla will then consider permitting from the start of the project and orient the timeline expectations regarding how long the final documentation will take. This process will be the longest. It could be anywhere from 2-8 weeks of installation after the permits come through, and the solar company will be ready to order the parts and have them shipped over to the schools. Tesla will then send its team over to begin installing the solar panels onto the schools’ rooves. This process will take 2-5 days. City/County InspectionsAfter the construction is finished, the city or county is required to do a final inspection before the energy system can be connected to the grid. The estimated time to complete this step is generally 1-4 weeks. Utility Interconnection The solar company will submit the documents to the utility company to connect to the grid. Then the utility will install the bi-directional meter and have it come online to track how much energy is being produced. This process usually takes around 3-6 weeks. From initial site assessment with the solar salesperson to when the system finally goes online can take between 2-3 months on average. After full installation, each school will require quarterly inspections and maintenance. This is important in making sure that solar panels are working and being used correctly and efficiently.  Project Schedule and Deadlines W.T. White High School Moises E. Molina High School Skyline High school. W. Samuel High School Sight Assessment April 2 April 3 April 4 April 5 Design Approval April 3-17 (1-3 weeks) April 4-18 (1-3 weeks) April 23-May 11 (1-3 weeks) May 7-25 (1-3 weeks) Permitting April 18-June 7 (2-8 weeks) April 19-June 20 (2-8 weeks) May 14-July 6 (2-8 weeks) May 28-July 20 (2-8 weeks) Installation June 11-21 (2 weeks) June 25-July 26 (2 weeks) July 9-20 (2 weeks) July 23-August 3 (2 weeks) City/County InspectionsJune 25-July 19 (1-4 weeks) July 9-August 3 (1-4 weeks) July 23-August 17 (1-4 weeks) August 6-31 (1-4 weeks) Utility Interconnection July 23-August 2 (1-2 weeks) August 6-24 (1-3 weeks) August 20-31 (1-2 weeks) September 3-14 (1-2 weeks) Legal Materials With any additional construction done to a building, permits and inspections are required to comply with the requirements made by the City of Dallas. permits permit is required to install solar panels in DISD schools. The permits must comply with the National Electrical Code and International Residential Code. The work done to the schools also must be performed by a licensed electrical contractor registered to work in the City of Dallas. Plan ReviewIn order to begin the construction of the solar panels a Solar Photovoltaic (Pv)

System Plan Review

The checklist is necessary to obtain. Construction PlansConstruction documents and plans for the installation of the solar panel water heater or photovoltaic system need to be reviewed, designed, and sealed by a licensed engineer. The plans are required to comply with either Section R301.1.3, Dallas Residential Code, or Chapter 16, Dallas Building Code. Site PlansSite plans that Tesla must comply with during the installation of Solar Panels include A plan that shows all property lines indicating: Length, Metes and bounds, building lines, and easements location of proposed solar system equipment, and existing structures must be evident.

A roof plan that shows the existing mechanical, plumbing venting, and intake engineered construction documents include assembly/installation plans of the solar panel system. Engineered construction documents of the solar panel system in connection to the building layout following require electrical information from the applicant: Line diagram of electrical system array information Plans may be required, such as a Site plan: showing the location of the building about street and property linesStructural plans: demonstrating sufficient support and uplift of photovoltaic panels professional engineer’s stamps may be required from electrical engineers and structural engineers. Additional essential information may include: Manufacturer’s cut sheets for all componentsSignage requirements list of all equipment and components Key Staff and Credentials Site Assessors Our site assessors will evaluate the installation site in person to determine how much energy can be harvested by using solar site assessment equipment, as shown to the right (Solar Site Assessor, n.d.).

Afterward, they will make recommendations based on their assessment. Their other jobs will also include the following: Determining the layout of solar panels drawing out plans for the installation crew Taking readings of sunlight viewing weather patterns calculating costs and savings our site assessors have experience in roofing and solar panel installation. They have received plenty of on-the-job training in using equipment to assess the installation site. Solar Panel InstallersOur solar panel installers are the key figures in this project. They are in charge of solar maintenance and installation. The main part of their job is to prepare the installation site. They will carry out an audit of the site, familiarize themselves with the electrical system, and develop safety procedures before doing the job (Careers in Solar Power, n.d.). Our workers will use proper safety equipment to anchor themselves up on the roofs as they carry out the installation process. All of our solar panel installers are licensed by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), and many of them have experience in construction and as electricians.


Electricians will be installing and maintaining all of the power systems in the schools. They will connect the solar panels and other equipment to the power supply. Although some of our electricians do not specialize in solar installation, they all have some experience and training in working with solar power equipment. Therefore, it can be ensured that our electricians will successfully connect the solar panels to the schools. Electricity symbol (Seton, n.d.)


Roofers will repair the roofs from any age done forbye solar panel installation. They will also help other crew members in installing mounting systems and structural supports. Most of our roofers have experience in solar panel installation, the ad had to go through additional training to do so. Staffing Numbers W.T. White High SchoolMoises E. Molina High SchoolSkyline High SchoolW.W. Samuel High SchoolSite Assessors1111Solar Panel Installers 16142011 Electricians 109147 Roofers 8596 BudgetIn 2011, Carroll ISD partnered with Axium Solar to place solar panels in two of their schools. Last year, they shared their case study on the project. Carroll ISD managed to save 20% of energy consumption by adding solar panels (Carroll ISD Case Study, n.d.). In the case study, they discussed a variety of things, like how many solar panels each school had along with costs. The study also explains each such school’s capacity, annand dual, and peak occupancy output. Overall BudgetOur goal is to drop energy consumption in four of the most populated high schools in Dallas by 20% each. To this, a total of $9.5 million would be needed. Bud gets for Every SchoolBy studying Carroll ISD’s case study, we recalculate the amount of money that w ld be needed for each high school. The calculation for each school was achieved by analyzing their population and square footage. Through this, it is estimated that altogether, they would need $9.3 million worth of solar panels. The following table shows the budget for each school: High SchoolAmount Needed for Solar PanelsWT White $2.1 million Moises E.Molina $2 million Skyline$3.7 million W.W. Samuell $1.5 million Other Expenses Expenses Amount Needed Labor $135,000 Tools $5,000Solar Panels Shipping and Transportation $5,000Marketing Strategies$1,000Legalities (contracts, waivers, and permits) $30,000 Quarterly Maintenance and Upkeep $20,000 Miscellaneous/ Unexpected Expenses $4,000 Total $200,000

Targeted Questions and Answers

How do you anticipate the tariff on solar panels affecting the domestic market? While the long-term effects of the policy-based economic intervention are hotly debated on both sides of the aisle, it is impossible to deny the opportunity that the tariff offers to domestic solar contractors. The real challenge will come when domestic industries need to be weaned off of the tariff. How are solar panels affected by weather? Solar panels are built to prevail against heavy rain, wind, hail, and cycles of extreme heat and cold for several years. With Texas’ unpredictable weather patterns and proximity to a tornado, alley weather can be concerning with the installation of solar panels. Solar panels are tested and certified to withstand a hail of up to one inch falling at approximately 50 miles per hour. Most solar panels are certified to withstand winds of up to approximately 140 miles per hour. All solar panels are designed to bear a certain amount of weight, snow is usually not heavy enough to cause issues. In addition, most solar panels are tilted at a certain angle that prevents snow build-up. Generally speaking, solar panel warranties do not cover damage resulting from hail, lightning, or wind, but most homeowners’ insurances do. How do I get permits for solar panels? Tesla is familiar with local and state requirements and will take care of all permitting before, during, and after solar installation. Do solar panels produce solar energy when the sun is not shining? The amount of power solar energy systems can generate is dependent on sunlight. However, solar panels will produce slightly less energy when the weather is cloudy, and no energy at night. How does installing solar panels benefit the environment? Solar panels reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change, and also result in fewer air pollutants like sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, which can cause health problems. Authorization FormWe, Tesla, believe that this project will not only help DISD schools but also the Dallas community, in energy conservation and cost savings. With $4,720,000 in funding from the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, we will accomplish these goals. Please authorize the initiation of our solar panel project by signing the form below. The Dallas Chamber of Commerce hereby authorizes Tesla to initiate the solar panel installation project in the four chosen DISD schools. It also agrees to fund $4,720,000, which is half of the $9,440,000 costs of the project, while Tesla funds the remaining $4,720,000.

Case Study:

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Solar Batteries: a Greener Solution. (2022, Jul 20). Retrieved from

Solar Batteries: a Greener Solution
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