US-based clean energy firm SolarCity has secured a contract to install 3,900 solar panels on four schools in California's Woodland Joint Unified School District.
According to a statement jointly released by the two entities, the district will incur no upfront costs for the project and is expected to save more than $70,000 in energy costs over the next five years.
The photovoltaic arrays totaling 924 KW, will be installed at three elementary schools and one high school.
The savings to the district come in two forms: First, SolarCity has agreed to install the systems for free. Secondly, the 20-year PPA with its utility allows the school system to buy solar power at a lower rate than it currently pays for fossil fuel-based energy.
“Woodland Joint Unified School District views energy efficiency as a top priority with environmental, economic and ultimately educational benefits,” said Rob Hutchinson, District Energy Education Specialist. “Going solar is another giant step forward in decreasing our energy consumption, which maximizes the funds available for educational programs and support services.”
Embracing solar isn't the only step the district has taken to improve its energy profile. It has also decreased its energy consumption by more than 30 percent over the past four years, qualifying as a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star Leader Top Performer.
The new solar arrays will deliver substantial additional environmental benefits to the region, eliminating over 49 million pounds of annual carbon dioxide emissions, which is the equivalent of planting more than 26,000 trees and taking more than 4,200 cars off the roads each year, the district said.
“It’s not often that we encounter a customer with as much experience tackling energy consumption as Woodland Unified School District,” said SolarCity Project Development Manager Anastasia Beckett. “They’ve been a leader in the movement to protect the planet for future generations and preserve precious budget dollars.”