Stony Creek Joint Unified District

Stony Creek Joint Unified School District (SCJUSD) is a rural K-12 district in Northern California serving students from Ladoga to Chrome covering 600 square miles in Elk Creek. With an enrollment of just over 70 students, the average class size is 10 students. It is home to a community of tight-knit, supportive, dedicated staff and residents focused on cultivating student achievement.

More than 50% of student demographics consist of Native Americans, serving members from the Nomlaki, Pomo, and Wintun tribes. The remaining school community consists of several socioeconomic backgrounds from the nearing Glenn and Colusa Counties, Elk Creek, Chrome, and Stonyford communities.

The District initially found that its energy costs have skyrocketed since local utility company, has raised rates and have escalated 100% without any signs of slowing. Their goal, therefore, sought to reduce operating expenses by evaluating current facility conditions, identifying funding to afford solar capabilities, helping create resiliency as a rural District, and being compliant with state regulations.

Our partnership with SCJUSD began in 2019 when we were asked to conduct an energy audit, knowing the district was faced with rising utility costs and aging building equipment. The audit revealed both high energy usage and inefficiencies within its facility assets that required the replacement of several HVAC units, lighting, and controls in two of its schools. The lack of available funding at the time delayed our ability to begin the project until our team was able to identify several solutions.


Thanks to the help of our funding and energy experts, we have identified and secured over $370,000 in grants to begin initiating plans for solar and facility improvements. Funding was sourced from the California Schools Healthy Air, Plumbing and Efficiency Program (CalSHAPE) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), underscoring its commitment to leveraging federal support for local improvements. The following 2 ground-mounted solar arrays were installed, boasting a robust 141.24 kW DC and 120 kW AC, it will ensure the District’s energy independence from the grid, granting SCJUSD compliance with State of California regulation requirements. We served as construction manager for the generator installation.

“This initiative not only reflects our dedication to our ongoing commitment to enhancing educational facilities while maintaining fiscal responsibility. We’re powering education with sunlight and paving the way for a brighter future for our students and community.”

Emily Pendell, M.Ed.View Emily Pendell, M.Ed., Superintendent/Principal, Stony Creek Joint Unified School District

In addition to renewable energy, the District will begin seeing immense savings in its general and operational budget. We replaced outdated HVAC systems worth $100,000, implemented LED lighting upgrades, and enhanced its facilities through controls for optimizing building performance and ensuring healthy indoor learning environments.

SCJUSD is now enrolled in net metering 2.0, a California policy that enables solar owners to earn credits for each kWh they do not use, allowing the district to see material savings, year-over-year. They are now cash-flow positive. The project will offset 90% of the District’s consumption with an annual projected savings of $90,000 or greater.

Project outcomes

“This significant project propels us towards a more sustainable and financially sound future.”

Emily Pendell, M.Ed.View Emily Pendell, M.Ed., Superintendent/Principal, Stony Creek Joint Unified School District

To ensure optimal building performance and resilience, mySiteIQ facility intelligence software will monitor 400,000 square feet of the District’s energy usage, solar generation, and the lifecycle of its facility assets. Our team will continue supporting the District’s operations and maintenance of its Solar arrays. With the lifespan of this equipment, the district anticipates savings exceeding $6 million.

Image courtesy of SCJUSD Facebook.