Kern High School District Selects SunPower to Deliver 22MW of Solar Power Systems at 27 Sites

published: 2015-05-29 17:25 | editor: | category: News

The Kern High School District (KHSD) and SunPower announced an agreement today to design and build 22 MW of solar power systems at 27 district sites. According to data provided by The Solar Foundation, the agreement is the largest contracted commitment to solar power by any school district in the U.S. Once the systems are operational in 2016, the district estimates that it will achieve $80 million in savings in electricity costs over 25 years.

"As a result of the SunPower systems, Kern High School District will significantly reduce the percentage of our budget allocated for electricity, allowing us to enhance academic and extracurricular programs and plan additional facility upgrades," said Dr. Scott Cole, Associate Superintendent of the Business Division for KHSD. "SunPower's deep experience working with school districts is as important as the long-term performance of its technology. We're looking forward to generating on-site emission-free solar power to support our operations and our community."

Construction will begin on the solar power systems this summer. The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2016, and will be financed through a power purchase agreement. For no upfront capital investment, the agreement provides the district with both competitive electricity rates and a hedge against potential utility rate increases. KHSD will own the renewable energy credits associated with the systems.

Sage Renewable Energy Consulting, Inc., an independent energy consulting firm, was retained by the district to help guide the vendor selection process and ensure that district goals are met from design through implementation.

SunPower is also working with KHSD to expand the district's commitment to high quality science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. Currently, eight district schools provide STEM curriculum through programs offered by Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a leading provider of K-12 STEM curriculum and teacher professional development. SunPower's in-kind contribution to the district is expected to enable KHSD to include two additional schools in these programs and enhance the district's existing programs over 20 years.

"Kern High School District is leading the nation with this very significant commitment to solar power at its schools," said Howard Wenger, SunPower president, business units. "SunPower works with school districts that are seeking ways to reduce operating costs and repurpose the savings to the classroom. It is extremely rewarding to partner with our public schools to deliver clean power with a SunPower system, while inspiring teachers and students with the great power and potential of the sun."

At the district sites, SunPower will design and install solar systems using SunPower® solar panels, the most efficient and reliable panels on the market today. The systems will be installed as solar carports in school parking lots, taking advantage of underutilized space and providing needed shade.

According to estimates provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the KHSD solar power systems will avoid production of approximately 17,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, which is the equivalent of removing about 81,500 cars from California's roads over the next 25 years.

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