Guilderland Central School District announces their brand-new 3.0 megawatt (MW) solar farm today on Becker Road in Altamont, New York. The District’s third and largest solar project, a 22-acre ground-mounted site built by ForeFront Power, is expected to produce 3.3 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean electricity annually. The District is offsetting 58 percent of their annual energy consumption and reducing operating expenses by an estimated $4.5 million over a 20-year period.
The project is part of the District’s ambitious initiatives around reducing operational costs from the existing grid. Guilderland Central is also one of the pioneering school districts in the state with sustainability initiatives, looking to reduce their carbon footprint while also improving student quality of life.
An Innovative Off-Site Solar Framework
Guilderland Central’s solar farm utilizes an innovative framework known as Remote Net Metering (RNM) to achieve the economies of scale that is not typically possible at an individual school location. RNM allows Guilderland Central and other public entities to go off-site and still benefit from net metering, whereby solar power generated in excess is sold back to the electrical grid. Located just five miles from the campuses that it supplies, the District is seeing maximized savings from this program.
In 2017, New York’s RNM program was replaced with Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER), a program which compensates projects based on when and where they provide electricity to the grid. For Guilderland Central, getting grandfathered under RNM was a huge priority and motivating factor for building more solar and working with the ForeFront Power team.
“We were approached by several companies and [ForeFront Power] was simply good to work with,” said Clifford Nooney, Energy Manager and Director of Facilities at Guilderland Central School District. “After reviewing the responses during our RFP process, they were clearly the best option for us.”
The ForeFront Power team was able to act quickly under the RNM program and then construct the project in under two months following interconnection approval.
“Guilderland Central is now a leader in renewable energy adoption in New York and our team really enjoyed working with them on this unique project,” said Co-CEO of ForeFront Power Paul Walker. “This unique solar solution really allows organizations like Guilderland Central to scale their impact quickly.”
Double the Savings
ForeFront Power, a California-based solar and storage developer, led the financing and development of the Guilderland Central project. With a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) from ForeFront Power in place, the District is projected to save an estimated $4.5 million over a 20-year period.
Money isn’t all that’s being saved as the clean solar electricity from the new solar farm will effectively cut Guilderland’s electrical carbon footprint by approximately 58% as well.
Impacting Future Generations
For Guilderland Central’s faculty, the solar impact goes beyond savings. Students across the District are gaining a whole new perspective on where their energy comes from thanks to the new ability to take field trips to the solar farm and access live production monitoring via kiosks on campus.
For teachers, the science behind solar fits well within the schools’ existing curriculum program, with science classes now having a portion dedicated to examining how energy is generated from the sun. For the District, it’s a win-win situation.
“I would recommend that schools pursue solar. While I’m a firm believer of saving our planet, solar is a good thing for the community and a good thing for taxpayers to be able to save money,” said Nooney. “Solar also presents a good educational opportunity for our young people. They are the ones that are going to deal with our repercussions for generations to come.”
The schools also receive free lesson plans from Schools Power, a leading national education organization that provides schools and colleges with standards-based renewable energy curriculum packages. ForeFront Power and Schools Power announced their partnership in July 2017.
For more information about ForeFront Power and solar for schools like Guilderland Central School District, visit k12.forefrontpower.com.
About Guilderland Central School District
The Guilderland Central School District, which is located adjacent to the city of Albany, encompasses most of the town of Guilderland and part of the towns of Knox, New Scotland and Bethlehem. Spread over approximately 60 square miles, the district offers all types of neighborhood living, from older, traditional homes to suburban housing developments to farms. Guilderland has five elementary schools including — Altamont, Guilderland, Lynnwood, Pine Bush and Westmere — Farnsworth Middle School and Guilderland High School.
About ForeFront Power
ForeFront Power is a leading provider of solar energy and battery storage solutions for public sector, utility, business, and residential customers across the United States and Mexico. Our team has delivered over 800 MW of wholesale, virtual, and behind-the-meter projects during the past decade. ForeFront Power’s proven development expertise, off-balance sheet financing, and best in class asset management enable us to provide our customers with the highest quality solar and storage products, helping to reduce expenses and achieve sustainability targets with clean, affordable energy. Headquartered in San Francisco, ForeFront Power has offices in New York and Mexico City.