Commercial solar installations in Texas continue to pick up as the state encourages solar. Just recently, United Natural Foods Inc. commissioned their solar array in Lancaster, Texas. Commercial companies are not the only customers taking advantage of this swing to solar, though.
The Pflugerville School District, located just outside of Austin, Texas, has now commissioned its own large solar installation. The 1.94 MW project will achieve approximately $1 million in savings after accounting for the cost of the solar panels. It is expected to offset more than 51,300 tons of carbon pollution over the systems’ lifetime. The project will power 11 school sites for the next 25 years with renewable, solar energy. The system was installed, and will be maintained, by Phono Solar. The combined system is expected to generate more than 2700 MWh of renewable energy annually, enough to power more than 200 homes for one year.
“The solar project is the biggest initiative the Pflugerville Independent School District has undertaken in terms of energy management and sustainability,” said Stephen Waldron, District Energy Manager. “The district is doing everything we can to reduce our operating expenses and lower taxpayers’ burden. Our solar project not only allows us to lower our operating costs, it also allows us to create a more sustainable learning environment for our students and staff while reducing the districts’ overall environmental footprint. This project’s carbon savings is tantamount to planting more than 38,000 trees, or removing 313 cars from the road annually. We’re proud to set an example of environmental leadership for our students and our community.”
The Austin City Council last year approved performance-based incentives for solar installations for the Pflugerville School District. The district received $3.9 million from Austin Energy’s incentive program for the project. Austin Energy encourages nonprofits, including school districts, to participate in the program, because they are ineligible for IRS benefits such as tax credits and accelerated depreciation due to their nonprofit status.
The complex system of one ground mount, two rooftop, and eight hybrid rooftop and ground mount arrays were installed using 6,480 Phono Solar modules.
“We were honored to be a part of this project. The Pflugerville School District is a model for school districts in Texas and across the country on their commitment to renewable energy and realizing substantial energy savings. Secondly, this project is a great learning tool for its students in science and economics”, said Bob Onofrey, Vice President Sales, Phono Solar North America.