CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS

A solar energy solution tailored specifically for every school

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We can optimize every aspect of a solar project for CA schools, from design and permitting to installation, financing, and operation.

Our focused approach enables us to quickly analyze, develop, and implement solar projects. The results are immediate and long-term energy savings for California’s public schools, with minimum hassle and no out-of-pocket expenses (for financed projects).

We work with California public school districts to evaluate the feasibility of solar for their campuses and can implement either a turnkey purchase or power purchase agreement (PPA) project. Our technology-neutral perspective allows us to assess the range of options available for a given campus and to implement the best solution, from a standard parking canopy photovoltaic system to our proprietary rooftop solar design for relocatable (modular) classrooms. Projects can be implemented as a stand-alone effort or in the context of a broader Prop 39 initiative.

Our Service

Alta Energy has established a comprehensive program to deliver solar electricity and significant energy cost savings, tailored specifically for California public school districts with relocatable classrooms on their campuses.

What we offer to California public school districts:

  • Systematic assessment of district-wide potential for savings
  • Standardized Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) contracts (see sidebar)
  • Quick, low-impact permitting, installation, and approval
  • Immediate savings and long term pricing certainty
  • Fleet operation and maintenance at no cost to district (with our PPA)
  • Interactive educational program
  • Standardized, pre-qualified solar system designs for carports and modular classrooms

Alta Energy is conservative and transparent in its approach, rigorous in its analysis, and unique in offering the full range of technology and design options, including our proprietary design for relocatable classrooms.

Alta Energy’s Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)

Key Features

  • No upfront costs for district
  • O&M and Insurance included
  • Pay only for electricity delivered
  • Below market rate fixed for 20 years
  • Flexibility to relocate
  • Single district-wide contract
  • No bid process required under Section 4217.12
  • Early buyout provision

ASSESSMENT

Alta Energy has developed an efficient yet robust approach for analyzing each school in a district for solar savings potential.

Key steps in this assessment are:

  1. Complete a desktop analysis utilizing satellite imagery, district electricity usage and billing data (provided by utility), and rate analysis and solar performance estimating tools to establish an electricity usage benchmark and estimate solar installation and bill savings potential by campus across a district.
  2. Prepare and present preliminary findings to district.
  3. Confirm DSA certification status of relocatable classrooms (we can help with DSA closeout in some circumstances).
  4. Perform campus ground surveys to confirm suitability of relocatable classrooms and electrical infrastructure, and refine installation capacity and cost assumptions.
  5. Rerun performance, financing, and economic models with final detailed data.
  6. Prepare and present final proposal to district.

Alta Energy performs our assessment work at no cost to a district. Click the button below to get started with a no-cost assessment today.

IMPLEMENTATION

Once a district has made the decision to move forward with us, Alta Energy gets to work on the following key stages of project development and implementation:

  • CONTRACTING
    Power Purchase Agreements can be complicated contracts. We work with our district clients to ensure an efficient and fair contracting process based on a standard contract template, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Solar Access to Public Capital commercial PPA. This form of PPA was developed by NREL to ‘improve consumer transparency, reduce transaction costs in the solar asset contracting process, and facilitate the pooling of the associated cash flows so that they may be securitized and sold in the capital markets.’ Alta Energy has made only minor changes to the agreement to reflect the special needs of public school districts in California – you can download Alta Energy’s Solar PPA template by clicking the button below.
  • FINANCING
    After a PPA contract is executed, Alta Energy will finalize arrangements for project financing. Our standard PPA template has been vetted and approved by our PPA financing partners to ensure smooth transition from development to financing and execution.
  • PERMITTING
    A key area of Alta Energy’s CA schools program is the DSA permitting and approval process. We utilize standard, prechecked system designs (including our unique pre-check design for solar on relocatable classrooms) to facilitate quick permitting, simple on-site testing, and fast closeout. In addition to DSA permitting, Alta Energy will handle interconnection agreements and approvals with the electric utility and any fire marshal approvals required prior to construction.
  • CONSTRUCTION
    Alta Energy coordinates construction according to a school’s scheduling needs. Because of our highly standardized approach construction time is minimized.   Installations on multiple relocatable classrooms can be completed in a matter of days, with virtually no disruption of school activities.  Alta Energy partners with highly-qualified contractors, experienced in performing work in California public schools, to complete our installations quickly and efficiently at prevailing wage rates.  All installation contractors and subcontractors are subject to district approval.
  • COMMISSIONING
    Upon completion of construction, Alta Energy performs comprehensive commissioning procedures to ensure that systems are installed and operating properly, that they meet our performance requirements, the requirements of our financing partners, and any other inspection or approval authorities.  We’ll manage final utility inspection and secure permission to operate, closeout DSA certification, and commence operation and delivery of low-cost solar electricity to the district.
  • OPERATION
    Throughout the term of an Alta Energy PPA, the operation, maintenance and repair (when necessary) of the solar power systems is our responsibility.  We will monitor the performance of the systems, dispatch crews if needed, and ensure that systems are operating at optimum levels.  Since we don’t get paid if our systems are not producing electricity, we have a natural incentive to ensure that they are operating at peak performance.  We’ll also insure the systems against damage or loss.  
  • DECOMMISSIONING
    At the end of the PPA contract term, unless a district elects to extend the PPA or purchase the systems that have been installed, we will decommission and remove the installed solar equipment and restore the district’s facilities to their pre-solar condition, less normal wear and tear.

BENEFITS

California public school districts are under constant pressure to stretch limited resources as far as possible. Alta Energy’s solar program can make a big positive impact for many districts with its unique spectrum of benefits.

  • Trustworthy Analysis
    Alta Energy can deliver a solution that works for any California public school district If your campus includes relocatable classrooms, then Alta Energy can offer a unique solar product that has been pre-checked with the DSA and provides for exceptional economics. If your district has parking areas suitable for solar carports or unused acreage for a ground-mounted system, we can provide options for those applications as well. We will assess the range of options and provide you with a solution optimized to your requirements.
  • No Formal RFP Required
    As a cost-saving renewable energy service contract, Alta Energy’s PPA can be entered under California Government Code Section 4217.12 without a formal bidding process. We can utilize our network of pre-approved vendors to rapidly help a district select the best provider, or can put out a formal RFP to allow for visibility of the range of options available. We believe that districts will find that the flexibility of our offering is unique in the market.
  • No Capital Investment or Operating Expenses
    With a Power Purchase Agreement, a school district pays only for electricity actually delivered on a monthly basis. The equipment is purchased and installed by the PPA provider. There is no upfront cost for the district. In addition, the PPA provider is responsible for insuring, operating, and maintaining the solar equipment for the duration of the PPA contract, and then removing it when the contract expires. There is no ongoing cost burden for the district.
  • Quick, Low Impact Installation
    Due to standardization, prechecked plans, and very simple installation process, systems can be installed very quickly with minimum disruption. A typical campus can be ‘solarized’ in a matter of days with systems on relocatable classrooms.
  • Immediate Energy Savings
    Most districts can immediately reduce their electric bills by as much as 20%, through a combination of low PPA rates and utility rate optimization for solar.
  • Long-Term Savings and Price Security
    Standardization and volume enable Alta Energy to offer low PPA electricity rates that escalate annually at roughly half the rate that utility prices have increased over the past 40 years.
  • Environmental Benefits
    Each solar classroom will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 15,000 lbs. per year, a reduction equivalent to taking 1.5 passenger vehicles off the road, or the amount of carbon dioxide 5.5 acres of US forest sequesters in a year.
  • Educational Program
    Our standard system enables web-based performance monitoring for students and teachers. We also provide curriculum materials correlated to State of California educational standards and support for teacher training and purchase of teaching materials.

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SOLAR FOR RELOCATABLE CLASSROOMS

Standardized, pre-qualified solar system designs for relocatable classrooms

Alta Energy offers California school districts a solar energy solution tailored specifically for relocatable (modular) classrooms. We’ve optimized every aspect of a solar project, from design and permitting to installation, financing, and operation, for this one application.

We believe that the large inventory of DSA-certified relocatable classrooms in California’s public school system presents an untapped opportunity to offer solar energy and its benefits in a broad and programmatic way to school districts across the state. This opportunity has been largely ignored by the solar energy industry to date due to several factors, including:

  • The costs and complexity of contracting and permitting for solar power in California public schools through traditional procurement and DSA development processes;
  • Limits on the overall installed capacity that can be achieved on relocatable classrooms at a given location due to the relatively small size of relocatable buildings; and
  • The challenges of financing long-term contracts for the sale of electricity from systems installed on what are viewed as temporary, portable structures.

Typical District

  • No upfront investment
  • $50,000 to $250,000/YR savings
  • Lifetime savings $1 million to $8 million
  • 5-20 campuses
  • 25-125 modular classrooms
  • 250 •1,250 kW DC solar
  • 10% to 20% savings on total electricity cost
  • 25% – 75% electricity provided by solar

We have established an approach to installing solar power systems on relocatable buildings that works from technical, administrative and financial viewpoints, and delivers the promise of this unique offering in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

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PROPOSITION 39

The California Clean Energy Jobs Act (Prop 39) provided approximately $2.5 billion over five years for investment in energy efficiency and clean energy jobs in California.

The majority of this funding has been directed towards energy efficiency and clean energy projects in California’s public schools and community colleges, and over the next few years school districts around the state will be implementing Prop 39 projects on their campuses.

Alta Energy’s solution for solar on relocatable classrooms is a perfect complement to a district’s Prop 39 efforts. As a stand-alone solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) project, Alta Energy’s solution can enhance Prop 39 energy savings by lowering overall electricity rates paid by a district, leveraging private capital investment and taking advantage of federal tax and utility incentives. 

In addition, we can integrate into a district’s Prop 39 activities in the following ways:

  • Alta Energy’s district assessment process  parallels the process for Prop 39 planning. We can work with a district’s energy consultant to incorporate our benchmarking and analysis of solar potential and savings into a broader energy audit and savings analysis to be submitted with a Prop 39 Energy Expenditure Plan for financing other efficiency measures.
  • The terms of Alta Energy’s PPA are consistent with the requirements for Prop 39 funding, and will yield a savings-to-investment ratio (SIR) well in excess of the required value of 1.05. We can provide the information needed for inclusion of the our solar PPA in a district’s Energy Expenditure Plan.
  • If a district prefers to simply purchase systems for its relocatable classrooms using Prop 39 funding, Alta Energy can offer turnkey installation at a cost lower than any other solar application requiring DSA certification. We can also provide ongoing operations and maintenance service agreements.
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