Secure Futures LLC, a Staunton-based solar development company, and the Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) co-hosted a dedication ceremony at Monticello High School for the largest installed solar PV array on a public school system in the Commonwealth of Virginia, totaling 1.1MW on six Albemarle schools. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe keynoted the event, highlighting how this project supports the Commonwealth's energy and economic development goals.
The Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between Secure Futures and ACPS represents a milestone in Virginia, as the first solar installation on a public school system in the Commonwealth under the 2013 Pilot PPA Program legislation. With zero capital investment by ACPS and annual savings projections of $3,800, the system will provide 22% of the annual electricity requirements for the six schools it serves.
"We are thrilled to work with ACPS, as the school district charts new territory in the Commonwealth. This collaboration not only benefits the schools in energy savings and curriculum enhancement, but it also creates a positive precedent for other school systems to follow," said Dr. Tony Smith, CEO of Secure Futures. "We're very thankful to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the $500,000 REAP grant that made financing for this project possible with City National Bank and Virginia Community Capital."
Under the 20-year PPA, Secure Futures builds, owns, operates and maintains the solar photovoltaic system, and sells the solar electricity to ACPS. SolarWorld Americas, the largest U.S. manufacturer of mono-crystalline solar panels, provided the panels, engineering, procurement, and construction management for the project.
The 1.1MW solar photovoltaic system grew out of a three-year campaign initiated by ACPS students seeking to increase their school's economic resources while reducing its environmental footprint. One of the student activists, Elenor Glassco, said "As more schools install solar panels, more students will learn about energy and the environment."