Monterey Ridge Elementary School is Poway Unified School District’s first solar-powered school, with 50-60% of its energy coming from a blanket of solar panels on the school’s anterior hillside. The 20,000 SF panel system reduces annual electrical costs by $30,000-40,000 and allows the savings to be diverted to a more valuable place: the classroom. Monterey Ridge is 21% below Title 24 standards and is a certified California High Performance School. Other high performance features include lights that turn on/off automatically, an Energy Management System, a high-efficiency irrigation system, and a Cool Roof with reflective coatings. Additionally, 42% of the school’s site is permeable to rainfall, and a central location ensures an easy commute for residents of the surrounding community.


Location: San Diego, California

District: Poway Unified School District

Size: 65,000 SF, 10 Acre Site

Cost: $22 M

Completion: 2006

Awards: California High Performance School

Reduced Energy Use

  • Solar Provides 50%-60% of Total Energy Use
  • Twenty Thousand Square Feet of Solar Panels
  • Reduces Cost by $30,000 to $40,000 per year

Reduced Water Use

  • 21% below Title 24 Energy Standards
  • Certified California High Performance School

View Windows

  • 42% of Site is Water Permeable

We find that the practicality of sustainability is a far more compelling story than the ideology of sustainability. Reducing operational costs, increasing comfort, and improving occupants lives on a daily basis - these are all ideas everyone can get behind.

Richard NowickiPartner