California’s Kern High School District issues microgrid request for qualifications

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The Kern High School District in Lake Isabella, California plans to install a microgrid and has issued a solicitation for qualified companies.


By David Prahl/

Located in the southern Sierra Nevada, the district serves more than 35,000 students and employs 3,500 people.

To be built at the Kern Valley High School, the microgrid will back up the school’s entire load with manual load management. The school is a designated emergency response center during power outages.

The microgrid will include a battery storage system of 250 kW 4-hour up to 500 kW 2-hour (up to 992 kWh), as well as a backup diesel generator of up to 250 kW. A 417.6 kW solar photovoltaic system already on the site will connect to the system.

The school’s peak demand without the use of its solar system is about 450 kW. With the use of solar, it is 233 kW. Annual consumption is 698,000 kWh pre-solar and -39,000 kWh post-PV (net exporter), according to Sage.

The school district will seek competitive bids for the design and construction of the microgrid on September 6, with proposals due October 7 and awards announced on November 8.

Sage Energy Consulting is now prequalifying applicants through a request for qualifications, with responses due August 24. The school district expects construction to begin in October 2023 and to complete the project by March 2024.

The Kern High School District is the latest school district in California to pursue microgrids. Others include Santa Barbara Unified School District, which contracted with ​​Engie Services US for 14 solar facilities, including six solar microgrids. The Clean Coalition, a project stakeholder, recently reported that the project is offering greater cost savings than originally anticipated.

Other California school districts that either have microgrids or are exploring them include Santa Rita Union School District, Shoreline Unified School District, Sonoma Valley Unified School District.

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.