Partnership with Solect Energy and PowerOptions Provides School with Solution to Successfully Navigate Fiscal Hurdles
June 27, 2017 – SOMERSET, MA – The Somerset Berkley Regional School District has partnered with Solect Energy, the state’s leading commercial-scale installer of solar energy systems, and PowerOptions, the region’s largest energy buying consortium, to install a 348 kilowatt (kW) solar energy system on the roof of its new regional high school. The solar array is expected to cover up to 20 percent of the school’s annual electricity use, and to save the school approximately $19,000 annually on its energy expenses.
Somerset Berkley Regional High School has approximately 990 students with the majority of students from the member towns of Somerset and Berkley, MA. In 2010, the District entered into an agreement with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to build an $80 million dollar new regional high school. The school opened in September 2014.
“The District is continually looking for ways to reduce operating costs in order to shift more resources to students,” said Lindsey Albernaz, Director of Business and Finance for Somerset Berkley School District. “Utility costs are an expense that is constantly fluctuating. Working with Solect, we were able to reduce operating costs without having to pay the upfront costs of installation.”
“Utilizing PowerOptions, which undertook an extensive competitive solicitation, meant that the district did not need to undertake our own costly and time consuming procurement,” added Albernaz. In 2015, PowerOptions chose Solect Energy based in Hopkinton, MA as the supplier for its Small Systems Solar Program.
The original building plans for the high school included solar panels, and the new school was built with the necessary structural capacity and electrical service to support a large array on the roof. However, the District could not move forward during construction with purchasing and installing its own solar panels due to fiscal constraints. Committed to pursuing solar, the District continued to explore alternative financing options, and ultimately selected PowerOption’s solar program. Under the program, Solect installs, owns, and operates the solar arrays on the school’s roof, and sells the power generated at a fixed rate for a period of 20 years under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) negotiated by PowerOptions.
“The solar system was installed at no cost to the taxpayers of Somerset and Berkley, but will provide electric utility savings averaging $19,000 per year under the Power Purchase Agreement between the district and Solect,” said Richard Peirce, Chairman of the Somerset Berkley School Committee. “The aggregate savings over the life of the agreement are estimated to be $340,000. In addition, our students will learn and actually experience how we as a high school community are doing our part to protect the environment. The district is now purchasing about 60 percent of its electricity through solar production.”
“Solect Energy is delighted to partner with The Somerset Berkley Regional School District,” said Matt Shortsleeve, Vice President of Development at Solect Energy. “The District was committed to solar for its new high school at the earliest design stage. Although solar had to be put on hold, the school didn’t lose sight of its goal of renewable energy. And now that perseverance is paying off. The savings are significant, and the students and teachers have a state-of-the-art solar system that they can use to supplement their curriculum in science, economics and sustainability.”
“At PowerOptions, we aim to support the public entities and nonprofits that are serving our communities in part by making solar energy more accessible with offerings like our Solar Program,” said PowerOptions President and CEO Cynthia Arcate. “In addition to cost predictability and savings, Somerset Berkley Regional School District implemented their solar project without the need for any upfront costs or ongoing maintenance responsibilities.”
PowerOptions is a nonprofit energy buying consortium that delivers cost savings and predictability to nonprofits and the public sector in New England. Headquartered in Boston, PowerOptions serves its nearly 500 members with electricity, natural gas and solar, with combined annual energy sales of approximately $200 million. With a 95 percent member retention rate, a proven supplier selection process and a dedication to personalized customer service, PowerOptions provides programs, services and solutions that educate and bring value to its membership. Established in 1998, any nonprofit or public institution in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut is eligible to participate in this collective purchasing effort. For more information, visit www.poweroptions.org or follow on Twitter at @PowerOptions.
About Solect Energy
Solect Energy is a full-service solar photovoltaic (PV) project developer and installer based in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, delivering smart solar and energy management solutions to help businesses and organizations reduce energy costs. As an industry leader in commercial-scale solar energy, Solect takes a practical approach to the development, installation and on-going support of each system. We partner closely with our customers, providing strong financial insight and solar technology expertise to optimize their investment while creating a positive impact on the environment. Solect currently has installed over 60 MW (megawatts) of commercial PV systems, with a primary focus on commercial, light industrial and institutional properties in New England. For more information, visit http://www.solect.com or follow us on Twitter at @SolectSolar.