Today's shrinking tax basis and rising energy costs are creating serious challenges for publicly-funded educational institutions
Hanford, CA (Vocus) October 27, 2009
The Pioneer Union Elementary School District (PUESD) is earning extra credit with administrators, parents, teachers and students for a jointly-developed Conergy - Enfinity renewable solar energy solution that will cut operational costs, provide a hedge against rising energy bills and create clean, renewable energy to accommodate up to 77% of the electricity needs for its Frontier Elementary, Pioneer Elementary and Pioneer Middle School campuses.
The project consists of three ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) systems that will have collective energy generating capacities of 788 kilowatts (kW). That's enough to provide power for about 630 homes. The PUESD Board unanimously approved the plan noting that the solar energy systems could save the district over $150,000 in utility costs over the first five years of operation with no capital outlay from the district itself.
The solar PV systems will be financed by Enfinity via a Power Purchase Agreement, or PPA. Enfinity will finance, own and operate the systems and, in turn, sell the electricity they generate back to the district at a cost lower than the district's current electricity rates.
"Today's shrinking tax basis and rising energy costs are creating serious challenges for publicly-funded educational institutions," said Pioneer Union Elementary School District Superintendent Diane J. Cox. "PPAs allow non-profits seeking relief from rising energy costs to identify partners to finance installation of solar energy solutions without prohibitive capital outlay. And they allow principals investing in systems like ours to then qualify for the tax incentives and rebates companies can reap for installing renewable energy solutions. It's a win-win," she added.
Enfinity's Lead Project Developer Mark Dominé said that the three Pioneer Union Elementary School District projects qualify for accelerated depreciation and federal tax incentives of about $2.8 million and approximately $1.4 million in cash rebates through the California Solar Initiative (CSI). CSI helps California companies cut energy costs via deployment of peak-time solar energy solutions that reduce reliance on imported oil, curtail emissions and help retain and generate green jobs.
"Our PPA solution supports the Pioneer Union Elementary School District's desire to reduce power costs in the midst of these economically challenging times," said Dominé. "Our development experience and our understanding of the various funding methods available have helped us to get this project moving in spite of tight financial markets."
Enfinity fuels development of solar projects via PPAs that require little or no capital outlay for a client's equipment or installation. The company processes all incentives rebates and then passes them along to clients in the form of lower energy costs.
In addition to average energy cost savings of $30,000 a year, the campus' three solar installations will offset over 25,800 tons of CO2 over the life of the project. That's the equivalent of eliminating the emissions from cars driving 84,046,231 miles -- or planting 442.5 acres of trees. Trees sequester carbon from the atmosphere and emit clean, life-giving oxygen.
Further sweetening the deal for Pioneer Union Elementary School associates is the fact that just this month California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed two bills to further reward businesses, public agencies and homeowners to invest in solar. AB 920 will require utilities to pay customers for surplus solar electricity fed into the grid. Before this, the state's net metering law allowed utility companies to receive surplus solar electricity from their customers for free. SB 32 establishes a feed-in-tariff that requires utilities to purchase solar electricity at a set rate over a 20-year period.
David Vincent, West Coast Development Manager for Conergy, says construction on the Pioneer Union Elementary School District project could begin as early as this month. Vincent says only U.S.-manufactured panels provided by First Solar will be used for Pioneer's solar energy solutions.
"The Pioneer Union Elementary School District did their homework, studied their options and could thus start reaping the benefits of clean, renewable, cost-effective energy before the end of this calendar year," said Conergy's Vincent. "Their pioneering spirit is an inspiration to thousands of other public school districts looking for ways to cut their costs and earn extra credit not only on their respective balance sheets, but with the communities they serve."
About CONERGY: Conergy designs, manufactures, installs and finances solar photovoltaic solutions for major commercial sectors, public agencies, businesses and homeowners through two distinct channels. Conergy's Projects Group focuses on custom solutions for large-scale, energy-intensive enterprises; Conergy's Distribution Group serves a national network of installers, developers and dealers in the grid-tied and off-grid residential realm, while also addressing the needs of small commercial markets. With ten years' market expertise, Conergy has successfully deployed projects totaling over 1.25 Gigawatt of renewable energy capacity around the world - nearly a full Gigawatt in innovative solar PV solutions. With operations in 14 countries over 4 continents, Conergy is helping drive the world's burgeoning clean energy economy. Learn more at http://www.conergy.us.
About Enfinity: Enfinity is a fast-growing international company specializing in renewable energy. As a project specialist, Enfinity ensures the implementation of solar & wind energy power plants, and is today already present in the U.S., Canada and 17 other countries in Europe and Asia. In order to finance these energy projects, Enfinity works with individual project companies whose financial means are provided by equity investors and banks. Enfinity is in the process of developing, building and financing solar PV projects with a total capacity of more than 145 MW and is planning to initiate several hundred megawatts through 2010. In 2008, Enfinity had revenues of $125M and by the end of 2009 will achieve revenues of more than $300M. In 2009, Enfinity has consolidated its international position as a global player with a $64 million investment from Waterland. For more information, visit http://www.enfinitycorp.com.
Terri Steele, CONERGY
(720) 305-0704, desk;
(858) 220-3317, mobile
Dasha Gordeychev, Enfinity
(916) 339-7003 ext 100