As fall classes begin, TEP is helping to make sure local schools have the equipment and infrastructure they need to operate efficiently and effectively.
While TEP is committed to expanding educational opportunities in our community through philanthropy, we also keep a strong focus on schools as local business partners and customers.
“Our programs help our local schools save on energy costs and support classroom learning,” said Jessica Berry, Supervisor of Energy Programs. “We work hard to do what we can to make it easy for schools to become energy efficient.”
Here are three ways that we help schools succeed in the education business.
Energy Efficient Lights
Each year since 2016, TEP has provided LED bulbs and linear fluorescent lamps to schools through a customer-funded energy efficiency program.
TEP partners with six local business to install the lights, supporting our economy while helping the schools save money on energy costs. The bulbs last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and provide more consistent light, creating a beneficial learning environment.
This year, we’re providing lighting to 26 campuses, including schools in the Amphitheater, Catalina Foothills, Flowing Wells and Marana Unified School Districts as well as three charter schools and the Arizona School for the Deaf and the Blind. Eight schools’ projects were completed by early August, and the rest will be complete by the end of the year.
Since the program started, TEP has worked with 119 schools to install lighting, resulting in energy savings of nearly 14 million kilowatt hours. The cost of the lighting and installation was about $3.5 million total.
“It is exciting to work with the schools to improve their learning environment. It is also exciting to see the school leaders, as well as the students, get excited about the new lighting they receive,” said John Rowe, a TEP consultant who works on the schools program. “Knowing I am a part of the process to help our children in the community is always personally rewarding.”
Electric Vehicle Chargers
For schools that want to promote the use of electric vehicles, TEP offers steep incentives for the purchase and installation of chargers.
Like other commercial customers, schools can claim rebates that cover up to 85 percent of the cost for certain chargers. In addition, TEP provides an initial site inspection, a list of approved models and contractors, and project guidance. Learn more about participating in TEP’s EV program.
Last year, TEP provided an EV charger to the Sonoran Science Academy as part of a one-time pilot program. The charger allows the charter school to advance and teach the concepts of technology and sustainability while reinforcing its commitment to clean energy. Read more about the academy’s electric vehicle charger.
As we do for other business customers, TEP assigns account managers to help schools address their energy needs. Aracely Lucero, Senior Key Account Manager, oversees public school districts, and Geovanna Moreno, Commercial Account Manager, works with charter and private schools.
The two help schools with construction projects, bill analyses, solar arrays, and energy efficiency improvements, among other assistance. We aim to help education leaders achieve their energy-related goals while keeping costs down.
Lucero worked with colleagues in different TEP departments to find a solution for the Flowing Wells High Schools’ welding shop, as one example. For this project, TEP built a custom transformer that fits an existing concrete pad, instead of requiring a costly replacement.
She also has supported the installation of a solar array serving the Sahuarita Unified School District, bringing officials up to speed on the interconnection process and billing. She also holds monthly meetings with Tucson Unified School District representatives.
“I like to keep my finger on the pulse,” Lucero said. “I try to make sure that everything is working so that schools can focus on educating students.”