April 24, 2013 — RGS Energy, the commercial and utility division of Real Goods Solar, Inc, and Smart Energy Capital (SEC), will provide Stockton Unified School District (SUSD) with 5.1 megawatts (MW) of solar power that will bring clean energy to 18 SUSD schools and facilities in California. The solar installations are expected to save the district $600,000 in the first year, which will directly benefit school programs and services district wide.
The systems will allow the district to pay less for solar electricity over the course of the 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA), provided by SEC. Moreover, the photovoltaic solar systems will deliver environmental benefits to the region, eliminating over 290 million pounds of annual carbon dioxide emissions, which is the equivalent of taking roughly 1,000 cars off California's roads each year (according to the EPA calculator).
"Going solar provides an exceptional real-world learning opportunity by reducing energy costs to free up funds that can be used to improve educational facilities and launch new learning programs for students," said SUSD Superintendent Dr. Steve Lowder. "We are proud to invest in renewable energy and set an example of environmental leadership."
SUSD, by working with RGS Energy and SEC, is now able to go solar with no upfront cost and pay less for solar electricity than they currently pay for utility power. RGS Energy, which has operations centers in numerous states, including California, will be responsible for construction, maintenance and monitoring of the systems.
Stockton Unified will join school districts across the state in benefiting from California's Net Metering policy, which credits solar customers for the surplus clean energy their systems send to the grid. The SUSD solar project will provide clean electricity for use by the schools during the day, and reduce the need for expensive peak power utility production.
"We have successfully deployed solar energy systems at many schools and academic institutions and are always impressed by the great value proposition that solar brings to the educational sector in particular," said Real Goods Solar CEO Kam Mofid. "RGS Energy is delighted to help the Stockton Unified School District achieve its goals of fiscal responsibility, educational excellence and environmental stewardship."
The project is comprised of more than 17,000 solar panels that will sit atop parking lot carports on the campuses, including the district's four comprehensive high schools. Providing both shade and solar power, these installations will also afford students with firsthand demonstrations of how solar technology works, and of solar energy's benefits to the classroom, where students can view the school's real-time energy production through online monitoring.