ForeFront Power and Fresno Unified School District in California have announced the groundbreaking of 8.2 MW of solar parking canopy systems across eight district facilities.
When completed, the portfolio of projects, which includes energy storage solutions provided by Stem Inc., is expected to save the school district more than $27 million over 20 years. In fall 2017, School Project for Utility Rate Reduction (SPURR) and Fresno USD conducted a statewide request for proposals to select the solar and energy storage providers.
“By partnering with ForeFront Power, we were able to procure solar and storage for each of our comprehensive high schools and the district’s service center at no cost to taxpayers,” says Karin Temple, chief operations officer at Fresno USD. “ForeFront Power understood the district’s desire for summer construction and accelerated the development of our projects to help minimize the impact to school activities.”
ForeFront Power was the winner of SPURR’s renewable energy aggregated procurement (REAP) program for solar and energy storage. Since 2015, the SPURR REAP program has been used by 20 school districts and municipalities to procure more than 50 MW of solar power across more than 100 sites.
“SPURR helped Fresno USD foster a more competitive environment than we could have done locally in Fresno,” notes Jason Duke, executive director of maintenance and operations for Fresno USD. “Now other public agencies can piggy-back the process to save time and energy.”
ForeFront Power is using Stem’s energy storage solutions, driven by artificial intelligence. Stem’s services provide real-time energy optimization to reduce demand charges, which can account for almost half of the district’s utility bills. The intelligent use of energy from the storage units, combined with on-site solar energy generation, helps each high school maximize its clean energy generation and enhance on-site sustainability, the partners say.
Fresno USD will also bring solar learning into the classroom with science and technology education from Schools Power, a national education organization that provides school districts with standards-based renewable energy curriculum packages. ForeFront Power and Schools Power announced a partnership in July of last year.
Construction of the solar canopy systems is under way at four high schools with the remaining four sites breaking ground in the coming weeks. These eight solar projects are expected to offset the equivalent of 10,633 tons of carbon dioxide for the first year of production.