Inovateus Solar, a Midwest solar developer, and En-Trust, an energy service and finance company for K-12 education, are collaborating on a portfolio of solar and energy efficiency projects for six Ohio school districts. When completed in 2020, the initial 10 solar and energy efficiency improvements will provide an average of 25% annual utility savings for each school with escalated additional savings over 30 years. Collectively, the schools will offset an average of 6432 tons of carbon emissions annually.
Because every district’s energy usage varies, Inovateus has designed the solar systems to match the energy needs of each school. The smallest project in the portfolio is a 235.9-kilowatt system installed for the Holgate School Corporation. The largest system is a 1.47-megawatt ground-mounted solar array that was recently completed at Elida’s High School.
Financing and efficiency upgrades
In addition to the solar energy systems, the districts will receive financing and energy efficiency upgrades from En-Trust that will further increase utility savings and reduce operating costs. As with the solar systems, the efficiency improvements are designed for each school, but often include new LED lighting, optimized hot water systems, smart thermostats, chiller and boiler replacements, and other renovations for reducing heating, cooling, gas, water, and electricity costs.
En-Trust will finance the solar and energy improvements with a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA). With this type of financing, school districts have no upfront capital costs and only pay En-Trust for the generated solar power at a kilowatt-hour rate that is significantly lower than the utility’s rate. En-Trust also operates and maintains the solar projects for the entire 25-year term of the PPA.
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In addition to thousands of dollars in energy savings, each school district will not only become more sustainable, but also have visible on-site educational opportunities for students to learn about energy efficiency and solar power generation.
“We’re excited to be collaborating with En-Trust on these Ohio solar school projects,” said Nathan Vogel, Vice President of Business Development at Inovateus Solar. “It’s typically difficult to finance school projects, but En-Trust has created a financing solution that truly makes it easy for schools to be more sustainable and to reduce their energy costs.”
Michael Campo, En-Trust’s Chief Financial Officer, added, “As an Ohio company founded by former K-12 educators, En-Trust is proud to be helping our local school districts benefit from clean energy and reduced utility costs. We’re glad to be working with Inovateus on these projects, and we look forward to working together on helping more schools to transition to clean energy and save on their utility costs.”
The Inovateus and En-Trust teams are committed to on-going work with schools in Ohio and the Midwest. These Ohio schools are one of the 5500 schools and universities across the U.S. powered by solar energy.
— Solar Builder magazine