SRCS Partners with REC Solar to Add 2.3 MW of Onsite Solar Districtwide

Source: 6/12/2024, Location: North America

Following a competitive bidding process, the San Rafael City Schools (SRCS) Board of Education has selected nationwide solar provider REC Solar to design, build, own, operate and maintain 2.3 MW of solar at five schools throughout the district.

The rooftop and canopy solar arrays will propel the district towards its strategic plan goals, helping to generate $9.7 million in energy savings and avoid 2,931 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. That's equivalent to powering 525 homes or removing 633 gas-powered vehicles from the roads annually.

"San Rafael City Schools takes pride in being wise stewards of our environment. We feel that installing these solar arrays is not only the right fiscal choice for the District, it's the right thing for the District to do," said Bob Marcucci, SRCS Assistant Superintendent of Business Services.

Following successful solar installations at Glenwood and San Pedro Elementary schools in 2019-2020, SRCS and clean energy consultants from NV5 created a plan to drive additional energy savings and carbon offset through seven solar installations at Davidson Middle, San Rafael High, Terra Linda High, Bahia Vista Elementary and Venetia Valley schools.

"We're excited to see SRCS fulfill its long-term goal with this commitment to solar power at its schools," said David Williard, a Principal in NV5's Clean Energy Group. "We've been working towards this milestone since 2017 and meticulously developed this project with input from the community and site stakeholders to ensure it will provide the greatest benefit to all."

SRCS selected REC Solar as the solar provider for the new projects, citing its extensive experience developing solar for more than 100 school districts nationwide.

"The whole team at REC Solar is thrilled for the opportunity to provide San Rafael City Schools and their community with sustainable energy solutions that not only empower the schools with reliable clean energy but also provide economic benefits, educational opportunities and shaded areas for parking cars and playing by the fields," said Scott Therein, REC Solar Sr. Business Development Manager.

The solar projects are financed through 25-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) with REC Solar at no upfront cost to SRCS, which means the district can reduce operating expenses without any initial investment capital required from general funds.

As part of the agreement, REC Solar will sell the power generated to the district at a fixed rate lower than the utility, helping to protect SRCS from fluctuating or rising energy costs over the next 25 years. Additionally, REC Solar will remain responsible for the operation and maintenance of the solar installations throughout the life of the PPAs.

REC Solar will manage the design, permitting, financing, and installation of the solar projects at each SRCS location.

Solar carports at Davidson Middle, San Rafael High and Bahia Vista Elementary will generate clean energy while providing vehicles with shade on sunny days and protection during inclement weather.

Solar shade canopies strategically placed on grassy, open fields at San Rafael High, Terra Linda High and Venetia Valley schools will help maximize clean energy production and provide shade for students during hot weather. A rooftop solar array at San Rafael High will utilize otherwise unused space to maximize solar generation.

All of the solar arrays will provide valuable STEM learning experiences for students, offering unique opportunities to engage with renewable energy technologies.

Construction is expected to begin at all five schools in 2025, though construction activities will be staggered between sites. All sites are scheduled for completion by the first half of 2026.

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