Green | News

Arizona District Powers Schools with On-Campus Solar Energy Installations

Tanque Verde Unified School District in Tucson, AZ, is going green on all four of its campuses with solar power installations expected to generate 2 million kilowatt-hours each year.

The district expects the installations to cover 70 percent of the energy usage across the four campuses, according to district superintendent Douglas Price.

The schools--Tanque Verde Elementary School, Aqua Caliente Elementary School, Emily Gray Junior High School, and Tanque Verde High School--were outfitted with more than 4,000 solar modules in a combination of rooftop systems and shade structures by Solon. The Tucson-based company engineered, designed, constructed, and commissioned the systems, and will also operate and maintain them.

The district avoided any upfront investment in the Solon solar installations--the construction of which employed 60 Arizona workers, including 25 from the local community--by partnering with MP2 Capital and Tucson Electric Power (TEP). The partnership includes a 25-year solar services agreement under which MP2 Capital will sell all of the power generated from the systems to the school, while local utility provider Tucson Electric Power has agreed to purchase all of the environmental attributes generated by the system in the form of renewable energy credits.

"The Tanque Verde School District will receive not only the benefits of clean electricity for 25 years but the lasting legacy of environmental consciousness fostered within its schoolrooms," said Jeff Glavan, managing director of MP2 Capital, in a release.

Solon is also providing an education package to the school district, including classroom monitoring of the systems' outputs, along with access to the performance and weather data. In addition, a renewable energy curriculum for elementary, middle and high school levels has been designed by TEP and meets Arizona state curriculum standards, according to a release.

About the Author

Kevin Hudson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached at [email protected].