Solar Impact is proud to announce a public-private partnership that is bringing solar electricity to twelve Alachua County public schools. This project provides $2.46 million in guaranteed revenue for local public schools, delivers a double-digit rate of return to investors, creates over $1 million in work for local contractors, and delivers over 1.7 million kilowatt hours of clean energy to the citizens of Gainesville. The revenue received by the school district will be used to implement a K-12 renewable energy curriculum and fund energy improvements at the schools.
Gainesville, FL, May 2012 : Gainesville Regional Utilities’ (GRU) nationally recognized “solar feed-in tariff” program makes this school solar project possible because it allows private investors to own the solar system at the public schools and still receive the substantial tax benefits. The investor sells the electricity to GRU at $0.29/kWh under the 20-year feed-in-tariff contract. The school district will receive lease payments from the investor as part of a 20-year roof rental agreement.
The payment to the school district is more than double what was being offered to Gainesville businesses for solar roof rental. Barry Jacobson, president of Solar Impact, explains that the public school solar project was structured to maximize the funds for the public schools. “Our children received an excellent education while attending Alachua County public schools and my wife and I have been very active in supporting the schools. We saw this project as a chance to bring solar to the public schools while creating a much needed revenue stream to the schools. In creating this project, I increased the roof rental amount until the project returned 10-12% to the investors because this seemed to be the threshold that would still make the project attractive to investors. The roof lease payment came out to $0.10/W annually or $123,000 for the 1,230,000 watt solar project.”
From the investor’s point of view, this project is a win-win-win situation. They are helping the public schools, improving the environment, creating local jobs, and receiving a monthly payment that equates to a 10-12% annual return for 20 years. Alachua County School District Facilities Executive Director, Ed Gable, selected each roof based on its age and condition. All of the solar equipment is guaranteed for a minimum of 20 years, so the only risk is that the sun doesn’t rise!
The leadership from the school district, GRU, and the City of Gainesville made this innovative public-private partnership possible through their diligence and creativity. In this era of shrinking budgets and across the board cut backs, the Alachua County School District will receive $123,000 annually for utilizing roof space that would otherwise sit idle. Our children will learn about the benefits of renewable energy. Local investors will secure a guaranteed fixed income stream for the next 20 years. Over $1,000,000 in work will be created for local solar, roofing and electrical contractors. And the citizens of Gainesville will benefit from over 1.7 million kilowatt-hours per year of clean energy being produced by this project.
Solar Impact, based in Gainesville, is one of the largest solar electric companies in Florida. As an engineer led firm, Solar Impact’s primary mission is “making solar affordable” so that homeowners, business owners, and organizations can harness the power of renewable energy in a way that makes good financial sense. Solar Impact buys solar panels direct from the manufacturer, keeps overhead low, and partners with licensed roofers and master electricians to ensure the highest quality solar installation. They provide a comprehensive solar financial analysis and help their clients obtain every solar incentive available. In addition to the Alachua County School District, Solar Impact has designed and installed solar electric systems for the Gainesville Regional Airport, the University of Florida, Alachua County Library District, Tyndall Air Force Base, Gainesville Job Corps, Avera & Smith Law Firm, Hillel Jewish Student Center, McGurn Management Company and hundreds of other organizations, business owners and home owners throughout Florida.
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