Honeywell will install, own and maintain solar panels on seven Pleasanton Unified School District buildings, and sell the electricity the panels produce to the San Francisco Bay Area district at a price significantly below its current utility rate.
The solar technology is expected to supply 20 percent of the district’s electricity and save it an estimated $2.5 million in energy costs over the course of the 20-year contract. After the agreement expires, the school district can continue purchasing electricity from Honeywell, acquire ownership of the solar panels or explore other energy providers.
“As caretakers of the public’s money, our district always is exploring new ways to be more efficient,” said Larry Lagatta, director of maintenance and operations at Pleasanton Unified School District, which serves 14,600 students in Pleasanton, Calif. “Through the agreement with Honeywell, we’re able to realize significant cost savings, as well as address our primary goal of being good stewards of the environment.”
“This is the one of the first projects in California, and quite possibly the entire nation, where the contractor operates as the utility for a K-12 school district,” said Brett Illers, chief operating officer at Information and Energy Services, Inc., an energy management consultant for the district. “Honeywell has taken an innovative step to help a school district with an inflexible budget lower its energy costs without requiring it to make an up-front capital investment or handle ongoing maintenance.”
In addition to the environmental and financial benefits, the district is working with Honeywell and the National Energy Educational Development – a non-profit organization that promotes energy awareness and education in schools – to create curriculum that teaches students about the district’s solar panels and other energy-saving measures.
Honeywell Building Solutions expects to install the solar panels and begin providing the district with electricity by October 2007.