In 2012, the Town of Avon adopted a Comprehensive Energy Management Plan. To meet the plan’s goals, Avon Clean Energy Commission recommended that the Town of Avon and the Avon Board of Education begin exploring the possibility of installing solar panels to combat rising operational costs and reduce energy expenses. The idea was brought up in several town meetings and the Town of Avon began the request for proposal (RFP) process in 2014, ultimately deciding to participate in Connecticut’s Zero Emission Renewable Energy Credits (ZREC) program, which provides financial incentives for state businesses and governments to install solar systems.
SolarCity submitted a bid to build a solar system for the department of public works (DPW), Avon Middle School (AMS) and Avon High School (AHS) that offered the Town of Avon a 15-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). This agreement would allow the town to reduce electricity costs without any upfront investment. Because SolarCity is full-service, providing engineering, finance, installation, monitoring and O&M, we were awarded the bid to build the systems.
The Town was initially concerned that the roof the middle school would not be able to bear the combined weight of the solar panels and the snow. However, SolarCity’s team of expert engineers worked closely with an independent structural engineer to review the drawings and make necessary changes to ensure structural integrity before installation began.
In total, the rooftop solar arrays installed at the DPW, AMS and AHS are comprised of more than 2,000 solar panels and are expected to generate 537,326 kWh of electricity in the first year of production alone. The PPA enables the Town of Avon to purchase electricity at a fixed rate that is well below what the local utility charges, saving the town an estimated $280,000 over the span of the agreement.
Another benefit of the solar systems is the opportunity to educate students about renewable energy. SolarCity provides access to PowerGuide—our proprietary solar production monitoring system, which enables students at AMS and AHS to see how much energy the systems are producing on an hourly, daily, monthly and yearly basis as well as its updated environmental benefits.