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3 California Districts Ramp Up Solar Projects with $32 Million in Projected Savings

Three California school districts have completed solar projects designed to save more than $32 million in electricity costs over 25 years.

Fowler Unified School District, Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District, and Golden Valley Unified School District installed the systems at 16 different locations.

Fowler USD added an .84-megawatt (MW) installation at six campuses, which will save $435,000 in the first year and more than $13 million over the life of the projects.

With a .91-MW system comprising three sites, Firebaugh Las-Deltas USD will save $195,000 in the first year and more than $9 million over 25 years.

Golden Valley USD's 11.1-MW system spans seven sites and will save $42,000 in the first year and $9.9 million over the 25-year-long contract.

Paid for in part through California's Solar Initiative, the projects were the result of each district's partnership with TerraVerde Renewable Partners, a company that provides independent energy advising.

"Solar energy projects for public schools are essentially revenue enhancements for school districts which directly benefit students and taxpayers," said Eric Cederquist, superintendent at Fowler USD. "We turned to TerraVerde for help because they were able to look into the feasibility of doing a solar project at no up-front cost to us. There was no financial risk to the district and they have refined a process specifically to meet the needs of public schools."

As part of the partnerships, "TerraVerde helped each school district: understand, control and reduce energy costs; explore all options for energy cost reduction; minimize financial risk; and conserve staff resources," according to information released by the company.

"TerraVerde is independent from a parent installation company, supplier, or project finance source," said Russell Freitas, Firebaugh-Las Deltas USD superintendent. "This was important to us because we wanted to avoid the pitfall of engaging in a specialized construction project without an objective third party providing guidance and oversight. TerraVerde served as our advocate and advisor in every stage of the process and helped us secure project funding and the best installation price."

All three districts are located in California's Central Valley. Fowler USD serves approximately 2,300 K-12 students at seven schools. Firebaugh-Las Deltas USD comprises five schools, with an enrollment of approximately 2,200. Golden Valley USD enrolls approximately 1,900 students at four schools and an educational options program.

More information about TerraVerde Renewable Partners is available at tvrpllc.com.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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