Friday, February 12, 2016

Solar parking canopies to save California schools millions

We know that parking canopies are there for one reason - to shield your car from the scorching sun and prevent you from getting wet as you alight from your car during rainy days.

It doesn't have to stop there.

The roofs have done their job nicely, but they can give you more - lighting up the canopies, parking lots, charging mobile devices (and electric cars), and powering up communication towers placed in the vicinity. The list doesn't end there. The point is, installing solar roof is doable and can be profitable.

Case in point - a 325kW solar canopy system in the parking lot of Whole Foods in Brooklyn, NY. Image by: Solitaire Generation

Schools save $$$ with 7.4 MW solar PV on parking canopies

While this happened in California, SunEdison no stranger to the Malaysian local RE community.

Back in 2014 it inked a deal with Malaysia Airport Berhad to make Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) the first airport in Malaysia with solar power system. Of the 19MW proposed solar PV system, 10MW was to be installed on parking canopies.

In January this year, SunEdison signed solar power purchase agreements with 25 elementary, middle and high schools in California to install high-performance solar parking canopies at each of the campuses, which is expected to save the schools more than $30 million on energy costs over the next 20 years.

The 5 unified school districts to benefit from the new solar systems are Dixon, Downey, Duarte, Livermore and Newman Crows Landing. These districts signed 20-year PPAs with SunEdison for more than 7.4 MW of solar to be installed on parking canopies in each school's parking lot.

"Using parking lot space for solar solves two problems: It provides much-needed shade for cars from the scorching California sun, and it lowers electricity costs - typically a school's second largest expense," says Sam Youneszadeh, SunEdison's regional general manager of its Western U.S. solar business.

"We've helped more than 150 schools become not only more self-sufficient, but also enabled them to free up funds to maintain their buildings and ensure they continue to be safe and positive learning environments," adds Youneszadeh.

With SunEdison's solar PPAs, these schools can enjoy the benefits of solar energy without any upfront cost. SunEdison will install, own and operate each system while the schools buy electricity at rates lower than those offered by their local utility.

The solar systems are expected to generate enough energy to offset more than half of all the electricity used at each school - that same amount of electricity can power 1,700 Californian homes a year.

SunEdison expects to complete the parking canopies this year.

The Green Mechanics' two cents:
Our schools in the interior are most suitable for such installation as electricity is mostly consumed during schooling hours when the sun is up there providing solar power. Airports in the remote areas are also good prospects as their operations are the busiest during daytime.

Source: Solar Industry Magazine | 14 January 2016 

1 comment:

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