BOULDER — Boulder Valley School District (BVSD), one of the greenest school districts in the country, and SolarCity®, a national leader in clean energy services, today announced the installation of more than 5,000 solar panels on 14 schools across the district.
The district celebrated the 1.4-megawatt (MW) solar project Monday, October 1, with a “flip the switch” ceremony at Foothill Elementary School, one of the 14 schools that are part of the project.
The photovoltaic systems will deliver environmental benefits to the region, eliminating over 110 million pounds of annual carbon dioxide emissions, which is the equivalent of taking roughly 300 cars off Colorado’s roads each year. The systems will also allow the district to pay less for solar electricity over the course of the 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) than it currently pays for utility power
“The primary goal of this ambitious initiative was to increase the amount of carbon-free solar energy the district uses, and we are delighted to have achieved it,” said BVSD Sustainability Coordinator Ghita Carroll, Ph.D. “These solar installations will enable us to teach our students about the benefits of clean, renewable energy while delivering clean electricity to the district.”
Students at these 14 schools will also have access to rich on-site educational resources: With SolarCity’s web-based monitoring, PowerGuide®, BVSD students will be able to track in real-time how much power their solar system is generating and how much electricity their school is using. This data is displayed graphically, thus allowing students to easily see the relationship between production and consumption.
The school district will also implement an extensive learning program called Schools Going Solar, which helps schools teach solar basics to students in grades 5 through 12. Developed by the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project, the program approaches the subject from mathematical, scientific, social and cultural perspectives.
The ceremony coincides with the first annual Green Apple Day of Service, a global initiative of the U.S. Green Building Council to educate children in sustainably built schools that conserve energy and inspire students.
“We are gratified to be able to contribute to the educational life of BVSD’s students and to help districts such as theirs demonstrate the economic and environmental advantages of renewable energy,” said Eric Wittenberg, SolarCity’s regional vice president in Colorado. “Solar power can become a mainstream source of energy so it is increasingly critical that our youth understand how it works, what it means for their futures.”
BVSD and SolarCity entered into a Power Purchase Agreement, which allowed BVSD to go solar with no upfront cost and pay less for solar electricity than they currently pay for utility power. SolarCity, which has operations centers in Denver and Parker, will be responsible for all maintenance and monitoring of the systems.
The schools on which the new rooftop arrays are installed are: Angevine Middle School (Lafayette), Aspen Creek K-8 (Broomfield), Boulder High School (Boulder), Broomfield High School (Broomfield), Centaurus High School (Lafayette), Coal Creek Elementary School (Louisville), Columbine Elementary School (Boulder), Creekside Elementary School (Boulder), Eldorado K-8 (Superior), Foothill Elementary School (Boulder), Heatherwood Elementary School (Boulder), Manhattan Middle School (Boulder), Monarch High School (Louisville), and Sanchez International Elementary School (Lafayette).
The project will bring the total number of BVSD schools with solar arrays to 30, which is more than half of BVSD’s school buildings.
Beginning in 2008, BVSD developed a Sustainability Management System (SMS) and has launched several “greenBVSD” initiatives. The SMS defines a vision, goals and strategies for achieving district-wide environmental sustainability, and serves as a roadmap for integrating these concepts into the curriculum and operations. For information about BVSD’s green initiatives, please visit bvsd.org/green or contact Ghita.Carroll@bvsd.org.
SolarCity® (NASDAQ: SCTY) provides clean energy. The company has disrupted the century-old energy industry by providing renewable electricity directly to homeowners, businesses and government organizations for less than they spend on utility bills. SolarCity gives customers control of their energy costs to protect them from rising rates. The company makes solar energy easy by taking care of everything from design and permitting to monitoring and maintenance. SolarCity currently serves 15 states and signs up a new customer every minute of the work day. Visit the company online at www.solarcity.com and follow the company on Facebook & Twitter.