Colorado Solar Arrays Save Schools Money
SolarCity announced on October 1st that it is going to install more than 5,000 solar panels on 14 schools across the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD), already one of the ‘greenest’ school districts in the country.
The school district celebrated the new 1.4-megawatt (MW) solar project Monday, with a “flip the switch” ceremony at the local Foothill Elementary School, which is one of 14 schools that are benefitting directly from the project.
The new solar power systems will result in the elimination of “over 110 million pounds of annual carbon dioxide emissions, which is the equivalent of taking roughly 300 cars off Colorado’s roads each year.” The solar systems will also result in the school district paying less for the solar power generated electricity over the course of its ’20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)’ than the conventionally sourced electricity that it currently uses.
“The primary goal of this ambitious initiative was to increase the amount of carbon-free solar energy the district uses, and we are delighted to have achieved it,” said BVSD Sustainability Coordinator Ghita Carroll, Ph.D. “These solar installations will enable us to teach our students about the benefits of clean, renewable energy while delivering clean electricity to the district.”
As part of the project, the students at the 14 participating schools will “have access to rich on-site educational resources: With SolarCity’s web-based monitoring, PowerGuide®, BVSD students will be able to track in real-time how much power their solar system is generating and how much electricity their school is using. This data is displayed graphically, thus allowing students to easily see the relationship between production and consumption.”
The school district and SolarCity entered into a ‘Power Purchase Agreement’ as part of the relationship. This allowed the district to go green without any upfront costs, and to still pay significantly less for electricity than they are paying currently. SolarCity will take care of all of the maintenance and operations of the systems from their centers in Denver and Parker.
The schools that will be receiving the new rooftop solar arrays are: Angevine Middle School (Lafayette), Aspen Creek K-8 (Broomfield), Boulder High School (Boulder), Broomfield High School (Broomfield), Centaurus High School (Lafayette), Coal Creek Elementary School (Louisville), Columbine Elementary School (Boulder), Creekside Elementary School (Boulder), Eldorado K-8 (Superior), Foothill Elementary School (Boulder), Heatherwood Elementary School (Boulder), Manhattan Middle School (Boulder), Monarch High School (Louisville), and Sanchez International Elementary School (Lafayette).
This project “will bring the total number of BVSD schools with solar arrays to 30, which is more than half of BVSD’s school buildings,” SolarCity noted.