NOVATO, Calif. - Irvine Unified School District (IUSD), SPG Solar, and SunEdison “flipped the switch” to initiate 2 megawatts (MW) of solar power for a multi-school program that promises to generate 25 percent to 60 percent of each campus’ electrical consumption.

Comprised of more than 7,300 solar panels at 15 IUSD sites, the solar deployments are expected to generate more than 2.9 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, and more than 51 million kWh over 20 years. IUSD will use all of the energy produced to offset their demand from the grid.

“We could not be more excited to ‘flip the switch’ on a new era of sustainability for the Irvine Unified School District,” said IUSD Superintendent of Schools Gwen Gross. “This extraordinary partnership with SunEdison and SPG Solar will reduce our energy costs by millions of dollars and shrink our overall carbon footprint. At the same time, we are eager to incorporate new lessons on photovoltaic technology into our curriculum, giving students the opportunity to learn more about solar power as they monitor their own energy usage in real time.”

The solar power systems were made possible through a strategic solar power service agreement between SunEdison and IUSD. In the agreement SunEdison financed and deployed the solar power arrays with no upfront costs from IUSD. In return, IUSD will purchase the power produced from each system at long-term predictable rates for 20 years. SunEdison worked closely SPG Solar, which was responsible for the design and construction of the solar deployments.

“Through this solar installation, IUSD is planning for the future by reducing electricity costs and locking in predictable long-term rates,” said SPG Solar CEO and President Chris Robine. “This project demonstrates IUSD’s commitment to educating students and generations to come on the power of renewable energy.”

The environmental benefits associated with the solar deployments are expected to offset more than 57 million pounds of carbon dioxide.

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Publication date:03/28/2011