Bringing Solar to the Historic SBMS Campus

 Thanks to support from CEC, Asteri Solar and California Solar Electric
Santa Barbara Middle School is thrilled to announce the installation of solar panels to our beautiful campus on Alameda Padre Serra. This 56.550kW system of SunPower solar modules and SolarEdge inverters and optimizers are designed to offset 100% of the school's annual electricity usage, integrated into the classic Spanish tile roof.

As new beneficiaries of our beautiful property, our goal is to make our campus as green and sustainable as possible for future generations while retaining the integrity and the historic architecture of the building. The solar project represents one big step among many toward this goal. Other efforts on campus include organic and sustainable landscaping practices, rain catchments, art classes using reclaimed materials, and recycling programs. Our kitchen utilizes sustainable cutlery and practices while being fueled by our student and teacher run vegetable garden and orchard. There is a strong connection between the school’s environmental efforts and the SBMS curriculum. Math, science, the arts and life skills all weave in aspects of our current global state and the environmental impact humans have on the world. The solar project offers opportunities for teachers to integrate further sustainability lessons into their classrooms, especially in math and science.

Our new source of solar energy was made possible by the Community Environmental Council (CEC) and Asteri Solar (who contracted with California Solar Electric as the installer). The system was activated on January 5th as part of CEC’s Solarize Nonprofit program ( CEC’s Solarize Nonprofit pilot program is designed to help local nonprofits go solar and run off renewable energy without an upfront cost. 
Santa Barbara Middle School took special care that the installation process was non-invasive, and historic care of the building was at the forefront of the project. Fortunately, the public view of the solar panels is mostly hidden, which ensures continued appreciation of the building’s architectural beauty. 
Santa Barbara Middle School would like to thank the Community Environmental Council, Asteri Solar, California Solar Electric and Southern California Edison, all of whom helped make this possible. This massive undertaking would not have been achieved without their guidance, care, and hard work along with the supervision of Will Fredericks, Facilities Manager at Santa Barbara Middle School.

We would like to give special thanks to Abe Powell, an SBMS Board Member and parent, for his expertise and shepherding of this project. His help with the design, permitting, construction quality, and keeping the project held to high standards was invaluable. He stated,
"It is so important for schools to lead by example and this solar project raises the bar on our environmental stewardship at SBMS. We are energized and filled with gratitude because, without the help of Asteri Solar and the CEC, this project would not have been possible." 
We look forward to continuing the push for sustainability in our community and creating a green campus that Santa Barbara Middle School can be proud of. This vision is reflected in our school motto, which speaks to the ways we are responsible to build on the legacy of those before us and create a legacy for those that come after: Because of them, us. Because of us, them.


About the Santa Barbara Middle School
Founded in 1976, SANTA BARBARA MIDDLE SCHOOL is an independent coeducational day school for grades 6-9. Through our students’ immersion in stimulating Academics, Creative Arts and Sports, Community Service, Career Studies and Outdoor Education, we prepare students for their future by providing a defining educational experience. Our saying “Learning Happens Everywhere We Go” could not ring more true for the SBMS program. Both state standards and creative, project-based learning guide our academic instruction. Our students bike hundreds of miles, camp and explore the outdoors to learn from nature. They volunteer and give back to the Santa Barbara Community. And they cultivate a love for arts, performance and sports through our electives. Our school is based on mutual respect, teamwork, and a unique understanding of the adolescent years. SBMS graduates are admired for their intellectual curiosity in and out of the classroom, academic excellence, creativity, and “can-do” confidence. Our motivated graduates excel in the Honors and AP programs in high school and go on to attend the finest universities across the country and abroad. 1321 Alameda Padre Serra, Santa Barbara, 805-682-2989, 
About CEC 
Recognized as a 2020 California Nonprofit of the Year and a 2020 City of Santa Barbara Climate Hero, CEC has worked since 1970 to incubate and innovate real life environmental solutions that directly affect the California Coast. Our current work advances rapid and equitable solutions to the climate crisis – including ambitious zero carbon goals, drawdown of excess carbon, and protection against the impacts of climate change. Our programs lead to clean vehicles, solar energy, resilient food systems and reduction of single-use plastic. Learn more about why CEC is one of only five Santa Barbara County nonprofits to have the highest possible ratings on independent watchdogs Charity Navigator and Guidestar at, and find CEC on the web at and on,, and