Clean Energy Collective (CEC), a community solar solutions provider, announced today that Pueblo County School District 70 (D70), the administrative arm of 34 schools in south central Colorado, has approved a contract securing 1.1 megawatts of solar capacity, or 11,456 solar PV panels, in two of CEC’s community solar arrays under development with Black Hills Energy. The move makes D70 the first school district in Colorado to offset 100 percent of its energy use for school facilities served by Black Hills Energy through community solar. The deal will net the district nearly $35,000 in savings in the first year, and more than $2 million in energy savings over the 20-year life of the program.
For D70, it was logistically challenging and cost prohibitive to build solar arrays at individual schools, with separate electric meters and a wide variety of roof types, age, and shading. Despite being the largest geographical school district in Colorado, with preschools, elementary, middle, and high schools serving 9,650 students, plus three transportation centers and an administrative building, D70 was able to consolidate its commitment into one community solar subscription, through CEC’s RooflessSolar program, with no upfront payment or recurring operations and maintenance costs and no changes to existing facilities.
Through RooflessSolar, any utility customer can lower their electricity costs and support local clean power generation without the need for a solar-suitable roof or a large upfront payment. Participants subscribe to a portion of a shared array, which is optimally sited and engineered for maximum power production, and then receive credit for the power production directly on their monthly utility bills. This model gives renters, those with shaded roofs, commercial customers with multiple locations, non-profits, and well-sited properties easy access to the benefits of local solar power generation.
The 1.1 MW allocation will generate an average of 2.2 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean energy per year, and more than 40 million kwh over 20 years.