Gilroy Unified School District, Borrego Solar and SunRaise Investments Complete 1.6 MW of Solar Shade Structures
Borrego Solar Systems designed and built three commercial solar installations at Christopher and Gilroy High Schools
Gilroy Unified School District (GUSD), a K-12 school district with more than 11,300 students, today announces the completion of 1.6 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity expected to save $1.5 million in energy costs over 25 years. The three solar shade structure installations at Christopher High and Gilroy High will offset approximately 2,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents annually, which is the same amount emitted from driving five million miles in a passenger car.
“Our District chose to finance the solar project via a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). We were fortunate to be able to create utility bill savings with the PPA in addition to financing the Gilroy High School parking lot remodel project,” said Superintendent Dr. Deborah A. Flores. “Borrego Solar was chosen because they offered seamless, turnkey solutions for us with PPA financing, project design, building the commercial solar systems, and managing the parking lot construction project. We felt confident in Borrego Solar’s ability to meet our project deadlines because of their in-depth experience with school districts.”
Borrego Solar Systems, a top commercial solar company, developed, designed, and built Gilory School District solar carport projects: 447 kilowatts (kW) and 322 kW at Christopher High and 788 kW at Gilroy High. Borrego Solar has completed more than 14 MW of commercial solar installations across 70 sites for K-12 schools in California. The projects will produce about 2.7 million kW-hours of energy in the first year, which is the equivalent to the amount needed to power approximately 375 average homes annually. The solar systems are sized to offset approximately 77 percent of the current electricity usage at those two schools.
“We were impressed with GUSD’s leadership throughout the development and construction process. They worked to ensure that we could get on-site and complete the project quickly, so the district could start saving on energy sooner,” said Kyle Kearney, VP of project development, Western U.S. at Borrego Solar. “As a result, we’re celebrating the operation after just about five months of construction. Congrats to GUSD for joining a growing number of K-12 Districts in California taking advantage of solar.”
SunRaise Investments owns the installations and will sell the power to GUSD over th 25-year PPA term. Through a PPA, GUSD was able to deploy solar without any upfront capital outlay or additional costs over the system’s lifetime, while having control over their energy costs long-term.
“The GUSD project is a true model that we hope other school districts can follow given the overflowing benefits for GUSD to enjoy, from 25 years of reduced electricity expenses for the tax payer, to a visible working model of sustainability for the students to study, to the improved function of the parking lot that will shade the cars from the hot sun,” said Patrick Jackson, senior VP of Project Development at SunRaise Investments. “We are grateful to partner with such enthusiastic, forward-thinking, gracious members of the GUSD community.”
GUSD, Borrego Solar and SunRaise celebrated operation of the systems on December 5, 2017 with an event where GUSD Superintendent Dr. Deborah A. Flores, Board of Education President Patricia Midtgaard, Gilroy High School Principal Marco Sanchez, Christopher High School Principal Caroline Calero, Borrego Solar Director of Marketing and the Project Developer on the project Jackie Pitera and Senior VP of Project Development at SunRaise Patrick Jackson spoke to the GUSD and Gilroy community.