Solar Energy at ACPS
Solar Power Purchase Agreement (SPPA)
When making the decision to generate power using solar energy, our public schools abide by a Solar Power Purhcase Agreement (SPPA). A SPPA is a contractual agreement between a host customer and an outside developer regarding the use of a photovoltaic (PV) system. The developer is responsible for financing and overseeing the design, construction, installation, and maintenance of a photovoltaic system on the host’s site. The host customer, one of our public schools, agrees to purchase the system-generated power from the developer over a set period of time at a fixed rate, usually equal to or less than the market rate of a local utility company.
Through this agreement, the developer owns, operates, and maintains the PV system while the host customer only purchases the power it generates. This allows our public schools to avoid any expensive up-front costs, unpredictable energy pricings, and liability for system performance risks, all while reducing carbon emissions and showcasing a commitment to progressive environmental practices.
Proposed Installation Sites
Through an SPPA with Albemarle County Public Schools, solar photovoltaic (PV) systems will soon be installed at the following schools with these layouts:
Monticello High School Albemarle High School Baker-Butler Elementary School
Sutherland Middle School Brownsville Elementary School Greer Elementary School
Virginia's Energy Usage
Total Electrical Generation, 2014 - 78,605,486 MWh
Virginia's electricity plants primarily generate power through the burning of natural gas, coal, and nuclear fission (93% total for month of March). Renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources, including solar PVs and wind turbines, only account for 0.5% of the state's power. In the 2014 year, 21 million metric tons of carbon dioxide were released into the atmosphere just from the burning of natural gas. This number of natural gas-produced carbon emissions is equal to the emissions produced by 2 million homes a year.
If 38.2% of Virginia's power was generated by renewable energy sources rather than natural gas, the carbon dixoide emissions annually produced by 2 million households would be eliminated, protecting the ozone layer and reducing the adverse consequences of global warming as a result. Use the EPA's Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator for yourself to learn what reducing carbon dioxide emissions means in everyday terms. Advocate for the use of renewable energy at your school and within your community!
Renewable Energy Resource Center at Henley Middle School
In 2011, Henley Middle School launched a Renewable Energy Resource Center that will help to lessen Henley's carbon footprint as well as provide children hands-on experience with renewable energy and it's countless benefits.
Henley's Renewable Energy Resource Center includes:
- Solar photovoltaic panels that will produce 44,000 kWh of electricity per year.
- Solar thermal hot water that will heat approximately 60% of the hot water used at Henley Middle School
- A wind turbine that will produce 2,700 kWh of electricity per year
- Web-based tracking that will track the electricity generated by the solar and wind power
Solar Photovoltaic Panels
The solar panels will produce 44,000 kWh of electricity per year, and save Henley Middle School $4,000 dollars annually.
The solar thermal coils will produce 774 MMBtu of energy annually, heating 60% of Henley's hot water.
The Wind turbine will produce 2,700 kWh of electricity per year, which is the equivalent of powering 20 computers.
On December 16th, Henley Middle School hosted a dedication event for the new Renewable Resource Center that includes the wind turbine, solar hot water system, and solar photovoltaics.
The event hosted speakers from the Henley Environmental Club, Department of Energy, Wind for Schools Program, and Baker Renewable Energy.
The Renewable Resource Center was partially funded by the Virginia Local Government and the School Renewable Energy Utilization Program administered by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME) through a grant process. Henley's community also succeeded in raising money for the Center through bake sales, donations, and other forms of fundraising.