Constellation and the Somerton School District today announced the completion of an aggregate 1.6-MW (DC) solar generation project in Yuma County, Ariz. Located at five sites — Desert Sonora Elementary School, Orange Grove Elementary School, Somerton Middle School, Tierra del Sol Elementary School and Valle del Encanto Learning Center — the installations are expected to collectively generate enough electricity to meet approximately 60 percent of the schools’ electricity needs.
In honor of the solar project completion, a celebration and ribbon-cutting were held at Somerton Middle School. Representatives from Somerton School District, Constellation, CORE Construction and Arizona Public Service Comany attended the event.
“Supporting solar generation helps our district to save operating costs and serves as an educational resource for students,” said Jerry Cabrera, human resources and operations director for Somerton School District. “An added benefit is that the panel structures provide needed shade for parking and play areas.”
Constellation owns and maintains the solar power systems. Somerton School District purchases the electricity generated by the solar panels from Constellation under a 20-year solar services agreement.
“Constellation is pleased to support Somerton School District’s commitment to renewable energy,” said Michael D. Smith, vice president of solar and energy efficiency sales for Constellation. “Solar as a power-generation source allows schools to better manage electricity costs and demonstrates the importance of clean energy resources to students, faculty and the community.”
The solar power system is composed of approximately 6,600 photovoltaic panels located on 10 carports and eight shade structures. The system is expected to generate approximately 2.3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. Generating the same amount of electricity using nonrenewable sources would result in the release of approximately 1,300 tons of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent emissions from 230 passenger vehicles annually, according to U.S. EPA data for the region.
The solar project was initially developed by Kennedy Partners and Smart Energy Capital, and built by CORE Construction. The installation was facilitated, in part, by the APS Renewable Energy Incentive Program. The program offers financial incentives to customers who add renewable energy systems to their homes or businesses. The program is funded by Arizona Public Service Company customers and approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission.
Constellation has developed more than 28 megawatts of solar projects for Arizona school districts. The company currently owns and operates more than 141 megawatts of solar installations that have been completed or are under construction for commercial and government customers throughout the United States.
— Solar Builder magazine