Tempe, Ariz., August 3, 2010 — Salt River Project launched a pilot program called SRP Community Solar, which allows public schools in the utility’s service territory to purchase energy from a solar photovoltaic power plant to be built in 2011.
School districts will purchase a portion of the output from the solar facility for a fixed price of 9.9 cents per kWh for 10 years. About 18 MW of renewable energy will be allocated to this program, and each school’s share of the solar plant will be individually metered.
The advantages to the program are that schools can invest in solar energy without the upfront costs of purchasing and installing solar panels and will not incur any maintenance or repair costs that may be associated with a rooftop system.
In addition, the kWh cost for the energy produced by the solar system is locked in for ten years. If the costs for electricity increase, the energy purchased through the Community Solar program will remain the same.
Participating school districts will also receive access to solar educational materials and a web portal, which will provide data on the plant’s operation and performance. The information will allow students to learn about the benefits of solar energy and how capturing the sun to generate electricity is one of many renewable energy sources for the future.
SRP will retain and use the renewable energy credits from the plant to support the utility’s sustainable portfolio. In 2004, SRP’s Board of Directors voted to require that 15 percent of the energy generated comes from sustainable resources by 2025.
SRP is also developing a similar program for residential customers who want to invest in clean energy but who may not be good candidates for solar on their rooftops (e.g. shaded roof or an apartment or leased residence). Participating residential customers will pay a small premium to offset a portion of the energy usage for their home from a solar plant.
Salt River Project is the third-largest public power utility in the country and serves more than 930,000 electric customers through a variety of resources including solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydroelectricity.