Partnership Between Sigora Solar and Isle of Wight County Schools brings Solar to the County

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Isle of Wight County Schools will soon begin construction on seven schools within the district. These solar projects will offset nearly 50% of the schools’ total electricity needs. The power purchase agreement will save the district more than $3 million over the course of 20 years at no cost to taxpayers.

School Rooftop Solar.

Isle of Wight County Schools Set to save upwards of $3 million by going solar with Sigora Solar

“Sigora presented a plan that was extremely beneficial to our division, cost effective, and aligned with our vision to help the environment, save money, and provide an educational experience for our students,” says division Superintendent Dr. Jim Thornton.

Sigora Solar, the largest residential and commercial solar company in Virginia, announced a partnership with Isle of Wight County Schools to install solar at seven county schools, making the schools some of first in the region to transition to clean, reliable energy while saving money and providing educational opportunities for students.

Sigora and Isle of Wight County Schools signed a power purchasing agreement (PPA) to install solar at seven area schools, saving on overall energy costs with little to no upfront costs for the County. The solar panels are projected to produce an estimated 4,252 MWh of clean energy for the area, enough to meet 44 percent of the seven school’s combined energy needs. This energy production will offset carbon emissions of 7.6 million miles driven by an average car, or over 1,000 tons of waste being recycled instead of tossed into a landfill. Construction will begin in January 2021 and is expected to be completed by Fall 2021.

Additionally, the money saved by the PPA will be reinvested through much-needed projects such as buying additional laptops and supplies for students, supporting sports teams and after school programs, and offering field trips and other learning experiences.

“This agreement is unique, allowing the schools to purchase power at a cheaper rate,” said Julie Ungerleider, Sigora’s Chief Operating Officer. “Isle of Wight County Schools, above all, care about student engagement and happiness. Our PPA opens new doors by allowing the school to allocate the cost savings from going solar to supporting student success.”

“Sigora presented a plan that was extremely beneficial to our division, cost effective, and aligned with our vision to help the environment, save money, and provide an outstanding educational experience for our students,” says division Superintendent Dr. Jim Thornton. “We chose Sigora because of their track record, their commitment to clean energy, and their commitment to education. It’s a perfect partnership.”

The Isle of Wight Schools Solar Project was made possible through legislation passed by the Virginia General Assembly this past session. Local legislators Senator Louise Lucas and Delegate Rosalyn Tyler voted for the Virginia Clean Economy Act. Senator Tommy Norment, Senator John Cosgrove, and Delegate Emily Brewer are also strong supporters of Isle of Wight County Schools.

When it came to choosing an installer, Isle of Wight wanted a partner who could match the schools’ enthusiasm and desire to empower their students to be a part of a positive change. “Our school district does their research to make sure they find a reputable company that’s going to do the best,” says Smithfield Middle School Principal, Matt Johnson.

For the past three years, Sigora Solar’s Commercial sector has doubled its installation capacity and is forecasted to do so again in 2021 because of large-scale public projects like Isle of Wight County Schools. “I think Isle of Wight County Schools recognized an experienced solar company that doesn’t simply look at this as another project, but more of a partnership and a relationship where we can help them accomplish their goals by utilizing our knowledge and our experience within the industry,” said Ungerleider.

The project is a “win-win” for the county according to Johnson. “Financially, you will save on the energy costs which will go right back into the classroom for the kids.” Principals of the participating schools in the area also see the installation as a unique opportunity for students to learn about a new technology and take part in combating climate change. “We’re all about deeper learning and those lifelong experiences for kids,” said Johnson. “We want to do something different in Isle of Wight County Schools.”

About Sigora Solar:
Sigora Solar is the largest residential and commercial solar company in Virginia, with more than 40% of the Commonwealth’s installed distributed generation capacity. Sigora’s unique Produce+Reduce package provides solar and energy efficiency services paired with a PEARL certification to monetize those upgrades. Sigora’s One-For-One program expands energy equity, providing households in Haiti access to electricity through Sigora Haiti. Sigora now operates in 13 states, establishing itself as a top 25 residential solar company in the Country. Sigora’s mission is to empower people and communities to take charge of their energy and build a more sustainable and equitable energy future.

About Isle of Wight County Schools:
Isle of Wight County Schools dedicates its efforts to create a learning environment that will enable every child to discover his or her unique gifts and talents. Through this vision, Isle of Wight County Schools is committed to preparing approximately 5,500 students in all nine of its schools to be college, career, and life ready. A rigorous curriculum includes the integration of project-based learning, the merging of academic disciplines, as well as performance based assessments. Students develop projects, solve problems and present their findings to a wider audience through school-wide expos.

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Joni Lane Coles

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