School District Hosts Solar Energy Facility

The Lagunitas School District will unveil a new solar facility this August, showing how sustainable energy in California schools can become a reality, according to an Aug. 6 press release.

Solar Power Partners, Inc. (SPP™) a Mill Valley, Calif.-based renewable energy company, developed the solar facility that will provide an estimated 65 percent of the school's annual power needs.

The school district entered into a 15-year power purchase agreement with SPP In April. The company developed and will own and operate the system.

The 58.52-kilowatt system will generate 86,000 kilowatt hours in its first year of production. The annual carbon dioxide offset of about 70 metric tons achieved through the use of the solar power system is equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions from 7,600 gallons of gasoline consumed, according to carbon statistics calculated via the U.S. Environment Protection Agency.

Borrego Solar, SPP's system integration partner for the project, utilized U.S. manufactured photovoltaic modules from Evergreen Solar, which feature the smallest carbon footprint of any photovoltaic manufacturer.

"We chose Solar Power Partners because of their expertise and ability to assess our needs quickly," said Lawrence H. Enos, district superintendent. "They have established a dependable renewable energy system that would not only cost zero out of pocket today but would help protect the school district against increasing electricity prices. Beyond providing a solution that our school district could never afford on its own, SPP is helping us teach our students how innovation, finance, government, and goodwill can all come together for the benefit of generations to come."

Power purchase agreements enable financing of solar installations by leveraging tax credits and by delivering power at highly competitive and predictable energy rates. The 15-year agreement is expected to provide a cumulative savings to the district of $110,000. If the school district uses its extension options, cumulative savings could be greater than $420,000 over its lifetime.

"We have developed a flexible solution that is designed to fit the stringent requirements of school administrators," said Alexander V. Welczeck, president of SPP. "It should never come down to a question of whether a school can purchase a book or help save the planet. We're glad we could set a practical example of affordable sustainable energy for both the public and private sector."

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