Irvine Unified School District to Install Largest Solar PV for public school system in California
The Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) Board of Education today approved a plan to enter into an agreement with SunEdison, a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic materials, and SPG Solar to establish energy-generating solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems at twenty-one sites throughout the district. It will be the largest solar deployment for a public school system in the state of California.
The clean, silent renewable energy systems will save the district $17 million in energy expenses over 20 years based on conservative estimates. Under the terms of the power purchase agreement, the Irvine Unified School District will incur no upfront capital costs. SunEdison will finance, build, operate and maintain the solar power systems, with IUSD purchasing energy with long-term predictable pricing.
This unique partnership will also make solar PV part of the district’s curriculum. Students will utilize Internet-based monitoring of the solar PV system to track solar energy production and consumption in real time. In addition, students will learn how solar panels work and how weather impacts energy production.
“We are excited about the opportunity to educate our students with a real world project that conserves both energy and money,” said IUSD Board of Education member Michael Parham. “This enables the district to ‘practice what we preach’ as we lower electricity costs by more than $17 million and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 12,000 cars off the road each year – a win-win-win for our kids, pocketbooks and planet.”
“We thank SunEdison and SPG Solar for making this a reality,” Parham said. “It is a game-changer in IUSD’s ongoing campaign to conserve, recycle and explore new technologies in the pursuit of sustainability.”
The energy agreement approved today will:
- Generate more than 6.6 million kilowatt hours of solar energy in the first year based on the projected 21 sites.
- Generate more than 120 million kilowatt hours of solar energy over 20 years – enough energy to power more than 11,000 average homes for one year.
- Offset a projected 127 million pounds of carbon dioxide over 20 years – the equivalent of removing more than 12,000 cars from the road for one year, based on an average of 12,000 annual miles per vehicle.
According to SunEdison President and Executive VP for MEMC Carlos Domenech, “When you get chances in life to reduce the carbon footprint, reduce costs and help kids and a school district – it is pretty special. We are lucky there are school systems like Irvine that have this kind of vision.”