Cuesta College has teamed up with Pacific Gas and Electric for a $425,000 project to install energy-efficient lights that will save the college nearly $1.1 million in electricity through 2027.

Work is nearing completion on the project that began in November to replace T12 fluorescent light fixtures on the college’s San Luis Obispo campus. Thoma Electric was hired to perform the work.

Cuesta trustees approved the plan Nov. 7 and allocated $40,000 for the work. The remainder is being funded by up to $160,000 in PG&E rebates and incentives, and $250,000 in zero-interest financing from the utility that will be repaid with energy conservation savings.

Toni Sommer, Cuesta’s assistant superintendent and vice president of administrative services, said the college’s electric bill won’t go down while the project is being repaid, but after 3.2 years it will drop $90,000 annually over the remainder of the light fixtures’ 15-year life spans.

New federal efficiency standards for fluorescent lighting that took effect in July impacted the price and availability of the larger-tube T12 lamps. PG&E estimates that lighting accounts for 30 percent of energy consumption in retail businesses and professional offices.

The work, which is being done at night, is expected to be complete by Dec. 31.


Jay Thompson | (805) 546-3100, ext. 2636 | Email: | Posted Dec. 17, 2012