Veregy will design and partner with local contractors to construct three carport and four rooftop solar systems at six district schools/sites (see chart below for details). This combined solar investment, coupled with LED lighting and building-envelope upgrades, is projected to save the district millions of dollars in utility costs over the next 20 years. This investment completely pays for the project and includes additional net savings in the general budget.
“We were fortunate in working with Veregy to be able to get our applications submitted and take advantage of a net metering environment,” said Chris Coleman, the district’s Chief Operations Officer. “This will ultimately save the district even more money under the project compared to net billing, which LPEA is moving toward in 2024.”
The program is leveraging close to $2.56M in lighting rebates and federal solar incentives to help pay for the project. Additionally, the solar panels and lighting savings are expected to reduce the district’s carbon emissions by 1,836 metric tons annually, equivalent to taking 409 gasoline-powered cars off the road each year.
The total project is expected to take just under a year to install and is scheduled to start in the early spring. Veregy, the district and La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) have worked quickly together in submitting eight schools' solar interconnection applications over the past three months, with six being approved.
“We are thrilled to see that this project will not only reduce energy consumption, meeting some of our sustainability goals, but also that the project is budget neutral. We believe this is a huge benefit for our community,” said Coleman. Budget neutral means that the cost to a payer is no greater or less under a new payment system than it would be under a previous payment system.
Beyond solar, the contract also encompasses a range of energy-saving measures that will be implemented across the district. These include:
- LED lighting upgrades: Replacing outdated high-pressure sodium lighting with energy-efficient LEDs that will further reduce energy consumption and maintenance costs
- Building-envelope improvements: Measures like air sealing and insulation upgrades will minimize energy loss and create more comfortable learning environments