Constellation, a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation and a leading competitive retail energy supplier, and Amphitheater Public Schools (the District) announced the start of construction of a 9.4-megawatt (DC) solar generation project in Tucson, Ariz. The solar power system, located across 24 school sites and support facilities, is expected to generate more than 60 percent of the District’s electricity needs in the first year of operation.
The project requires no upfront capital from the District. Constellation will own and operate the solar power system. The District will purchase the electricity generated by the solar panels from Constellation under a 25-year solar services agreement. The project will result in an expected savings of $11 million to $23 million in energy costs for the District over the term of the agreement, according to the District.
The project will offer real-time data monitoring capabilities that will be integrated into the school curriculum to help students learn how solar electricity works and about the benefits of renewable energy. Students will be able to observe how solar energy is powering their schools, and be introduced to potential careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields.
The solar power system is expected to be completed in mid-2016 and will be comprised of approximately 29,000 photovoltaic panels located on carports, shade canopies and rooftops across 24 locations. The system is expected to generate approximately 16.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first year. Generating the same amount of electricity using nonrenewable sources would result in the release of approximately 16,830 tons of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent emissions from 3,543 passenger vehicles annually, according to U.S. EPA data for the region.
Natural Power and Energy, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based commercial solar developer serving companies, schools and government institutions, led the pre-construction development efforts for the solar power system.
Constellation currently owns and operates more than 300 megawatts of distributed generation that have been completed or are under construction for commercial and government customers throughout the United States, including more than 250 megawatts of solar installations, and other forms of clean, on-site power supply such as biomass and co-generation.