Environmental Protection

Irvine, Calif., Schools Partner with Companies for Solar Project

Irvine Unified School District will partner with SPG Solar and SunEdison to roll out the most comprehensive use of solar energy for a school district in the nation.

The project will include installing solar energy systems on 21 of its facilities, including schools and administrative buildings. The solar program, which will be implemented throughout 2010, is expected to generate 6.6 million kilowatt-hours of clean renewable energy per year and save the district more than $17 million over 20 years.

"This could be one of the most valuable teaching tools we have in our schools," said Michael Parham, board member, IUSD. "We need sustainability in our schools, not just on our roofs or in our recycling programs, but in our classrooms, too. That is why as good as this solar energy program will be, what we will be doing to use solar energy to teach our kids about math, science, business, finance and art will be even more important."

When completed, more than 44 percent of electricity for the 21 sites should be generated by solar power. This is projected to reduce IUSD’s total energy costs by approximately 10 percent each year.

"Irvine Unified School District is not only installing solar on their roofs but they are bringing it into the classroom as well," says Thomas Rooney, chief executive officer for SPG Solar. "Solar not only makes economic and environmental sense, but it has value in the classroom. These students are our future."

In order to install the systems with no up front costs to the district, SPG Solar partnered with SunEdison, who will finance the project through a Solar Power Purchase Agreement, owning and operating the individual solar systems and then selling the electricity to the district for less than they expect to pay Southern California Edison.

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