SunEdison, Inc., the largest global renewable energy development company, announced it has signed solar power purchase agreements with 25 California elementary, middle, and high schools. SunEdison plans to install high-performance solar parking canopies at each of the campuses. By switching to solar, the schools expect to save more than $30 million on energy costs over the next 20 years.
The five unified school districts saving money with the new solar systems are Dixon, Downey, Duarte, Livermore, and Newman Crows Landing. The districts signed 20-year power purchase agreements with SunEdison for more than 7.4 megawatts of solar, installed as parking canopies in each school’s parking lot. Solar parking canopies provide shade for parked cars while generating cost-effective, clean solar energy.
“Installing a SunEdison solar system is one of the most immediate and effective means for schools to control their energy costs, and thanks to California’s reasonable net metering policy this option is available to all schools in the state,” said Sam Youneszadeh, SunEdison’s regional general manager of its Western U.S. solar business. “Using parking lot space for solar solves two problems: it provides much-needed shade for cars from the scorching Californiasun, and it lowers electricity costs – typically a school’s second largest expense. We’ve helped more than 150 schools become not only more self-sufficient, but also enabled them to free up funds to maintain their buildings and ensure they continue to be safe and positive learning environments.”
With SunEdison’s solar power purchase agreements, these schools will enjoy the benefits of solar energy without any up-front cost. SunEdison installs, owns, and operates each system while the schools buy the solar electricity at lower rates than offered by their local utility.
“This project shows how districts can become more self-sufficient financially,” said Dr. Allan Mucerino, Duarte Unified School District’s Superintendent. “And from an educational perspective, our students can learn how consumers make decisions about purchasing energy. I’m excited that we’re able to provide a hands-on experience for our students, with these solar systems we are teaching our students about one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy.”
California joint powers authority SPURR helped the districts arrange the solar power agreements with SunEdison. SPURR helps its clients get a high-performance solar system from a reputable solar company through its competitive procurement program.
“These school districts are getting the best value by choosing SunEdison,” said Michael Rochman, SPURR’s managing director. “SunEdison’s solar solutions are far superior to anything else we have seen in the marketplace, and they have the track record to ensure these systems are maintained their entire life.”
The solar systems are expected to generate enough energy to offset more than half of all electricity used at each school. That same amount of electricity can power 1,700 Californian homes a year. The systems also avoid more than 136 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions over 20 years—the same amount sequestered by 51,000 acres of U.S. forest a year. That’s an area more than one and a half times the size of San Francisco.
SunEdison intends to complete the solar parking canopies in 2016. SunEdison Services, which manages, monitors, and reports energy output for SunEdison’s global assets, will operate and maintain the solar system.