by Kelly Pickerel. Originally published at solarpowerworldonline.com
SolarCity and Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) are together installing a 6-MW solar and energy storage project across 19 schools and the district’s administrative office. The project, which includes energy storage systems at five sites, required no upfront investment and is expected to save the district more than $520,000 within the first year of operation alone, and $35 million over 25 years by providing affordable power at a discount to utility rates.
“Like many schools districts across the county, Temecula Valley has faced increasing budget cuts and rising operational expenses,” said Janet Dixon, Director of Facilities Development at Temecula Valley Unified School District. “With SolarCity, we found a creative way to cut our electricity bills. This money will free up funds for the district to invest in student programs and curriculum.”
The project includes 18 solar carports and two ground-mount solar arrays. The carports incorporate SolarCity’s ZS Beam technology, which is safer, faster and more cost efficient to install than previously possible. Carports also provide shade for parking and even the district’s students during break and lunch hours. Five of the project’s sites will also be equipped with DemandLogic, SolarCity’s smart energy storage system for businesses. Together, the DemandLogic systems will have 2,600 kilowatt hours of energy storage capacity that can later be intelligently dispatched during times of highest demand. TVUSD will reduce energy costs by using stored electricity to lower peak demand, further contributing to the district’s overall cost savings.
TVUSD chose a SolarCity Power Purchase Agreement, which allows the district to pay for only the power the systems produce at a fixed rate that is less than what it is currently offered by the local utility. The district retained Sage Renewable Energy Consulting, Inc. an independent energy consulting firm, to help assess the feasibility of the projects and determine the most cost-effective designs for each site to optimize energy savings. The firm also helped to solicit and organize proposals for the projects and select the best candidate to meet TVUSD’s specifications and goals.
Read the rest of the article at the Solar Power World Website