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Archive for school solar panels

SolarCraft Completes Solar Power System for Cloverdale Unified School District

Sonoma County School Reduces Utility Bill and Saves Money

school solar panelsNovato and Sonoma based SolarCraft recently completed the installation of solar panels on at Washington Middle School in the Cloverdale Unified School District (CUSD), Cloverdale, CA.   The new 102 kW photovoltaic system will reduce their utility grid demand while saving the school district thousands in energy fees every year.

“The voters in Cloverdale passed the Measure G bond in 2010, and one of the main reasons the passage occurred is because the district included solar in its plans,” stated CUSD Superintendent Jeremy Decker.  “We are very excited that we have finally installed our solar panels and followed through with our promise to the community.”

The solar photovoltaic panels are ground-mounted at the Northwest corner of the school property, enclosed by fencing for added protection and security. The students have a first-hand opportunity to see how sunlight is converted to electricity and to learn of the importance for us all to explore the possibility of using renewable resources for our energy.

Solar power offers the CUSD an opportunity to help break away from the budget uncertainty surrounding energy, and to secure decades of reliable energy prices while significantly lowering their carbon footprint. The energy savings can go back towards the important work of education. The solar power system for Cloverdale Unified School district marks SolarCraft’s seventh installation for a Northern California school.

“Anytime that we make improvements to our school sites we always have the environment in mind. Installing solar panels at Washington not only allows us to provide power to a school, while lowering our electricity bill, but it shows our students and community that we are committed to being good stewards of the Earth,” says Jeremy Decker

Designed and installed by SolarCraft, the solar system consists of 312 SunPower 327-watt, high efficiency solar panels, spanning over 5,475 square feet and providing 165,881 kWh of clean, renewable electricity annually. In the first year of operation, the solar panels are estimated to generate more than 73 percent of Cloverdale school district’s electricity needs. That’s about $40,860 in savings every year.

CUSD’s solar power system will generate enough electricity to power 24 average homes and will avoid production of almost 6,505,436 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions per year, which is the equivalent of removing 10.5 million miles of driving over the next 25 years. That’s also comparable to the air pollution removed by 56 acres of trees.

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Sonoma Academy Makes the Switch to Solar

Sonoma County School Goes Green, Saves Money

Solar Panels at Sonoma AcademySonoma Academy has switched-on a 208 kW solar power project on the north edge of its campus. The electricity produced from this system is projected to save over $1,280,000 for the academy over the next 25 years allowing that money to flow directly back into education.

Sonoma Academy’s solar power system is not only about utility bills savings, but an example of the Academy’s intent to create a better, more sustainable future for its students. It will generate enough electricity to power about 50 average homes and will avoid production of 6,266 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions per year, which is the equivalent of removing nearly 5 million miles of driving over the next 25 years. That’s also comparable to the air pollution removed by 107 acres of trees.

A Local Team: The solar project was developed by SolEd Benefit Corp of San Rafael and investor MacDonald Eco Developments LLC of Sebastopol, and installed by SolarCraft of Novato.

Sonoma Academy did not have to buy the solar equipment, or take on any debt. It instead signed a 25-year Solar Power Purchase Agreement with SolEd Solar Holdings III, LLC to simply buy the clean energy produced and metered by the solar array. Under present Net Energy Metering rules (confirmed by the CA Public Utility Commission this month) the School’s meter will be credited at established retail values of energy during the bright summer months and on weekends while it uses little energy, and pays a modest cost (eventually declining) for energy delivered.

The solar modules are all-black mono-crystalline silicon PV 275-Watt panels manufactured in the U.S. by Suniva, Inc out of Norcross, GA, with a 25-year warranty. The inverters are HiQ Solar 8kW TrueStringTM smart inverters, made in California by HiQ Solar, Inc. of Santa Clara, CA. The hillside installation and racking on earth screws was accomplished by RBI Solar of Ohio. Overall system engineering, permitting, procurement and turnkey construction was managed by SolarCraft of Novato.

SolEd_webSolEd Benefit Corp was formed with the mission to lower the cost of clean energy for schools and public benefit clients. They are using a Solar Power Purchase Agreement document used by SolEd with a four-school District in Petaluma, and several other agencies in the Northbay.

Key terms of the Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) include:

• No upfront capital cost to Sonoma Academy
• No obligation for the School to operate and maintain the solar facility
• No fixed payments or debt obligations for the School
• No need to reserve for capital replacement or repairs – SolEd does that
• The PPA is simply an agreement to pay for the clean energy delivered to the meter.

The rising cost of energy has profoundly affected our local nonprofits and schools, who have to adapt to working on tighter and tighter budgets without compromising the quality of their important work.

“We have wanted to go solar from the founding of the Academy,” says Derice Hogel, the business manager, “but we needed to preserve capital for growth of the school. This approach was the winning formula—and it looks as though we will have nice operating savings as well. SolEd’s Solar PPA is fair, and beneficial for our program.”

About Sonoma Academy
Sonoma Academy is the only independent, college preparatory high school in Sonoma County. On its beautiful 34-acre campus nestled at the base of picturesque Taylor Mountain in South Santa Rosa, Sonoma Academy students are able to explore their interests and passions in a challenging environment that prepares them for college and life beyond. The Academy has undertaken a program of environmental excellence, aiming for a zero net-energy standard for its new facilities. For more information, contact Derice Hogel, Director of Finance & Operations, at 707-636-2462

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SolarCraft and Enphase Energy Help Liberty School Cut Energy Costs with Solar Power

Sun Shines Bright on Sonoma County School

school solar, solar panels, liberty schoolNovato and Sonoma-based SolarCraft has completed the construction of a 44.7 kW solar electric system at Liberty School in the rolling hills of West Petaluma, CA. The installation of the solar photovoltaic array will reduce the school’s carbon footprint and save thousands of dollars in energy costs for years to come.

The system spans over 2,600 square feet on multiple building rooftops, which were specifically designed by local architect Dan Hardin to accommodate solar panels.

Enphase Energy, a Petaluma-based worldwide leader in microinverter technology, donated microinverters to the project. Enphase microinverters will optimize system performance by working individually with the system’s 149 LG solar panels to ensure maximum energy production. Additionally, the project managed to secure one of the last California Solar Initiative rebates available before the program expired. The school will receive approximately $24,000 in rebates for energy produced by the project.

The solar electric system will provide about 70 percent of the school’s annual electrical needs, powering the classrooms and administrative offices.

The system’s solar electric panels are expected to generate approximately 66,000 kilowatt hours of clean energy annually. The new solar energy system allows Liberty School to generate enough electricity each day to power over 20 average homes. The amount of carbon offset by the PV array is equivalent to removing 29 tons of harmful greenhouse gases annually. Over the next 30 years, the air pollution saved will be equivalent to eliminating nearly than 1.7 million miles of driving or the amount roughly 9 acres of trees could remove.

About Liberty School
Liberty School, serving 214 pre-kindergarten through sixth grade students, is nestled in the rural, dairy ranching area of Petaluma, 50 miles north of San Francisco in Sonoma County.  Founded in 1857, Liberty School is the oldest school in continuous operation at the same site, with the same name, in Sonoma County.  More than just a school, Liberty is the hub of the community, where families meet neighbors and build relationships. Many families have been attending Liberty School for generations

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