California School Districts Getting Solar Projects, Energy Lesson Plans

ForeFront Power is installing a total of 3.7 MW of solar for three school districts in California.

The projects will be installed across 13 locations for Stockton Unified School District (San Joaquin County), South Monterey County Joint Union High School District (Central Coast) and Shasta Union High School District (northern California).

The solar parking canopy projects, which will be completed in 2019, are expected to generate over 5 million kWh of electricity annually. ForeFront Power will manage all aspects of project development, including financing via a power purchase agreement, requiring no upfront cost or bonds on the part of the districts.

“As one of the largest school districts in California, it’s important that we demonstrate our commitment to sustainability while conserving district resources,” comments Steve L. Breakfield, Stockton USD’s director of facilities and planning. “ForeFront Power’s solutions enable Stockton USD to implement solar at schools across our district without the use of bond funds and bring solar learning directly into the classroom.”

Stockton USD has prior experience installing solar at several high schools and middle schools. For this second round of sites, the district chose ForeFront Power, which offers a streamlined procurement process via California’s School Project for Utility Rate Reduction (SPURR). ForeFront Power notes that its backing by Mitsui ensures a stable counterparty for the long-term life of the solar projects.

All districts used a purchasing framework through SPURR, allowing public agencies in California to “piggy-back” a competitive request for proposals process for solar energy. Since 2015, the SPURR Renewable Energy Aggregated Procurement program and the ForeFront Power team have helped over 20 school districts and municipalities procure more than 50 MW of solar power across more than 100 sites.

“We are thrilled that so many schools, municipalities and county offices are saving time, effort and money by using our procurement process. SPURR strives to offer clear, fair and competitively sourced terms and conditions that allow for easy sourcing,” says Michael Rochman, managing director of SPURR.

The schools will also receive free energy lesson plans from Schools Power, a national education organization that provides school districts with standards-based renewable energy curriculum packages. ForeFront Power and Schools Power announced their partnership in July of last year.

“Our curriculum will make on-site solar adoption even more real for students,” says Elliott Josi, CEO of Schools Power. “Students will be able to practice their skills in STEM and English language arts. Also included are activities to build student interest and awareness of careers in the solar energy industry.”

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