ForeFront Power and Huntley Community School District 158 ("Huntley") announce a partnership to install 5.6 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic capacity across 3 school campuses. The ground-mounted projects are expected to save the district $4.2 million over 20 years while offsetting 12.3 million pounds of carbon emissions annually.
K-12 school districts across the United States are often burdened by high energy costs, which total approximately $8 billion annually according to the U.S. EPA. These costs are second only to those for personnel, highlighting the importance of reducing these expenses for district administrators and local communities so that funds can be spent more directly on student education.
"On-site solar energy is a natural progression from our energy efficiency projects and conservation efforts," said Dr. Scott Rowe, Superintendent of Huntley 158. "Seven of our buildings are already Energy Star certified and solar will make them even more sustainable. Plus, we save money in the process."
ForeFront Power's energy solution allows schools to install solar without any upfront cost. Under this Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) model, ForeFront Power will design, permit, finance, install, and maintain the solar energy project for a 20-year term. In return, Huntley simply pays for the electricity generated by the system at a predictable price below their existing utility rate.
"We are excited to work closely with Huntley's local community to make these projects a success," said ForeFront Power's Co-CEO, Paul Walker. "Not only will the community benefit from having more renewable energy, but our projects will also provide an on-site learning opportunity for students."
Each school that hosts a solar project will receive a kiosk with system monitoring for community members and teachers to see upon entering the building. ForeFront Power will also implement free energy lesson plans from Schools Power, a leading national education organization that provides school districts with standards-based renewable energy curriculum packages.
Huntley selected ForeFront Power through a competitive Request for Proposal process. "ForeFront Power submitted a proposal that offered an incredible savings opportunity for our district," said Doug Renkosik, Huntley's Operations and Maintenance Director. "Their experience working with school districts across the country was also critical in our decision-making process."
The solar projects will be constructed upon receiving interconnection approval from the utility and formal certification to receive Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) made possible by the Illinois Future Energy Jobs Act of 2016. They are expected to produce 7.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity during the first year of operation, the equivalent to nearly 12.3 million pounds of carbon emissions removed from the grid according to the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.
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