Solar Schools: Success Stories

We’ve written before about how solar and schools are a perfect fit for each other, and today we wanted to show you firsthand the positive impact solar has on schools from K-12 to Higher-Ed. The key to bringing solar energy to schools is through Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) which removes the biggest barrier to entry: capital investment. Under a PPA, schools lease their roof space to a solar provider who will install, own, and operate the array while selling the power it generates to the school at a rate far below their utility energy costs. This allows schools to go solar with nearly no initial costs, while reaping the benefits of cleaner, less expensive energy. Often, even if the school could afford to buy the array outright, the tax-driven incentives that are available wouldn’t be viable for them, making the PPA structure an appealing solution for schools interested in going solar.

With high-energy demands that occur during peak solar production hours, and large buildings with flat roofs, schools are ideal candidates for solar. In addition to saving on energy costs and helping the environment, schools also have the unique opportunity to incorporate their solar array into their curriculum, and use it as a teaching point for students in their science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs.

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Stonehill College

Size: 6 MW
Type: Rooftop Array, Solar Field, Solar Canopy
Location: Easton, MA
Owner: Solect Energy, SunPower
PowerOptions: No
Impact: Stonehill College has shown a remarkable commitment to renewable energy, with a variety of installations across their campus. From making the most out of open field acreage to capitalizing on viable roof space, and utilizing their parking lot with the installation of a massive carport. Now, thanks to the College’s prolonged dedication to clean energy, the massive campus draws 40% of its energy needs from solar power.

 

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Lawrence Family Development Charter School

Size: 310 kW
Type: Rooftop Array
Location: Lawrence, MA
Owner: Solect Energy
PowerOptions: Yes
Impact: With three separate arrays installed on campus, Lawrence committed to deploying as much solar energy as possible under the Solect & PowerOptions solar program. Their arrays supplement their commitment to sustainability, with active gardens on campus and a program where the school helps to build energy efficient housing in neighborhoods across the city of Lawrence.

 

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Pingree School

Size: 324 kW
Type: Rooftop Array
Location: South Hamilton, MA
Owner: Solect Energy
PowerOptions: No
Impact: The Pingree School is a co-ed private school serving the Greater Boston area boasting exceptional athletic and educational programs for their students. Their solar installation was a particularly good fit given their athletic facilities and on-site ice rink creating a high demand for energy, especially into the summer months. The school will cover nearly 50% of its energy costs, and save nearly $20,000 a year.

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Roxbury Latin School

Size: 207 kW
Type: Rooftop Array
Location: West Roxbury, MA
Owner: Solect Energy
PowerOptions: No
Impact: The Roxbury Latin School is the oldest independent boy’s school in the country. Their focus is on providing an elite education at an affordable price that allows for a diverse student base. Adding solar to their campus saves the school approximately $100,000 over the life of the 15-year PPA arrangement, allowing them to further their goals of keeping their institution accessible to all deserving students.

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Fitchburg Reingold and Memorial Schools

Size: 603
Type: Rooftop Array
Location: Fitchburg, MA
Owner: Solect Energy
PowerOptions: Yes
Impact: Fitchburg has shown a real commitment to renewable energy, having just recently been dubbed a green community following the commissioning of their solar array. In addition to their present commitment to clean energy, they have made a considerable effort to educate the youth in their community on the benefits of renewable energy by hosting a “Clean Energy Day” sponsored by the MassCEC. Reingold school alone will realize over $40,000 in savings a year.

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East Nazarene College

Size: 205 kW
Type: Rooftop Array
Location: Quincy, MA
Owner: Solect Energy
PowerOptions: No
Impact: Determined to make the most of their limited space, the East Nazarene College installed four different systems on campus, totaling over 200 kW. Although small, only covering 10% of the school’s energy needs, they’ll still save over $330,000 on their energy bill over the life of the arrangement.

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Malden Catholic High School

Size: 476
Type: Rooftop Array
Location: Malden, MA
Owner: Solect Energy
PowerOptions: No
Impact: Malden Catholic strives to be good stewards of their community and the environment. Having recently replaced the roof on the school’s main building, they looked at the opportunity to add solar to help displace the costs of their renovations while carrying benefits through the future. The solar array joins a variety of other energy efficiency measures the school’s taken over the last few years.

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Upper Cape Cod Technical High School

Size: 663
Type: Solar Canopy
Location: Bourne, MA
Owner: Solect Energy
PowerOptions: No
Impact: Upper Cape Tech’s solar canopy is the largest of its kind installed at a high school in Massachusetts. Their partnership with local energy company Green Seal got the project started, before turning to Solect to make their vision a reality. The array will serve a large share of the school’s energy needs throughout the year, with the Bourne Recreational Authority drawing from it during the summer.

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