School Solar Electric Installation Project Profile
Rising energy costs have profoundly affected nonprofits and schools, which have to adapt to working on tighter budgets without compromising the quality of their important work. By installing a 207 kW solar electric system, Sonoma Academy will save more than $1,280,000 over the next 25 years allowing that money to flow directly back into education.
Sonoma Academy’s solar power system is an example of their intent to create a sustainable future for their students. It will generate enough electricity to power about 50 average homes and avoid production of 6,266 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions per year — equivalent to removing nearly 5 million miles of driving over the next 25 years and comparable to the air pollution removed by 107 acres of trees.
Designed and engineered by SolarCraft, the project was developed by SolEd Benefit Corp of San Rafael, which was formed with the mission to lower the cost of clean energy for schools and public benefit clients.
“We have wanted to go solar from the founding of the Academy, but we needed to preserve capital for growth of the school,” says Derice Hogel, the Director of Finance & Operations. “This approach was the winning formula – and it looks as though we will have a nice operating savings as well.”
Rather than buy the equipment or take on debt, Sonoma Academy signed a 25-year Solar Power Purchase Agreement with SolEd Solar Holdings III, LLC to buy the clean energy produced and metered by the solar array. Under present Net Energy Metering rules 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.
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.
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