ForeFront Power is currently developing of 20MW of solar projects for California School Districts. At these 3 districts specifically, the projects utilize solar parking canopy systems so the solar projects themselves will be above existing parking.
Discussing ForeFront Powers Solar Projects for California School Districts
Brian Taylor | ForeFront Power
Please tell us a bit about some of the solar school projects you are working on?
ForeFront Power is currently developing of 20MW of solar projects for California School Districts. At these 3 districts specifically, the projects utilize solar parking canopy systems so the solar projects themselves will be above existing parking. This means that students and staff can enjoy shade and protection from the elements in addition to the electricity cost savings that the systems provide.
How will the solar projects impact life for students at the schools that will adopt solar?
ForeFront Power brings solar into the class room with solar energy curricula and lesson plans at each school. These lesson plans will be provided through our education partner, Schools Power, a leading national education organization that provides school districts with standards-based renewable energy curriculum packages. Students will see the projects outside their buildings and will engage in STEM activities to understand how the systems work and how they impact the school’s electricity bill.
How are the schools procuring solar energy without any upfront cost? Are incentives, such as the Federal Investment Tax Credit included?
ForeFront Power’s solution is known as a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). ForeFront Power will design, permit, finance, install, and maintain the solar energy projects for a 20-year term. In return, each district simply pays for the electricity generated by the system at a predictable price below their existing utility rate. This model allows us to leverage all incentives, especially the Federal Investment Tax Credit, in order to provide the lowest rate possible to the schools. If they were to purchase the systems outright, their status as a public agency would prevent them from reaping any savings from the Federal Investment Tax Credit.
How does a Power Purchase Agreement work for schools? Why would they utilize a “piggy-back” RFP with SPURR and ForeFront Power?
ForeFront Power won a massive state-wide solar and storage RFP conducted by SPURR, a joint powers authority of more than 250 school districts and Fresno USD, the 4th largest school district in the state. Districts can “piggy-back” off of this competitive process to secure excellent pricing and terms while saving the time and resources normally required to run their own RFP. This RFP is and the associated documents are all publicly available and transparent for school Districts and other public agencies like community colleges, municipalities, counties, and universities.
How much will these schools save on their electricity bills by choosing to adopt on-site solar?
The electricity offset from these projects will result in over $10 million in savings for the districts over the 20 year contract period.
What other benefits are there to these projects other than energy cost savings?
The projects are expected to generate over 5 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually, representing 4,793 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent avoided from the grid. This translates to an annual impact of 931 cars off the road or the carbon sequestration of over 5,000 acres of U.S. forests. (EPA Carbon Equivalencies Calculator)
What steps does a school administration need to take to get a project started … who are the major players in making it happen?
School administrators who are interested in procuring solar energy like these districts can reach ForeFront Power or SPURR for a free analysis of solar energy for their schools.
About Brian Taylor
Brian Taylor is ForeFront Power’s Sales Director for large scale California Public Sector solar projects. Mr. Taylor has experience developing projects for ForeFront Power, SunEdison and SolarCity and has originated of over 100MW of solar projects. Prior to joining the solar industry in 2013, Mr. Taylor worked as an analyst on Wall Street for 8 Years in large scale solar project financings and solar industry analysis. He is a CFA Charterholder. Education: B.A., Environmental Studies – College of the Holy Cross. He is based in San Francisco, CA.
The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag
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