On June 11, 2015 Lexington City Schools reached a formal agreement with Secure Futures to install a 100-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system on the roof of the Lylburn Downing Middle School. The project will generate 25% of the annual electricity requirements for the middle school, and include an energy monitoring system as well as an education center with demonstration solar panels.
Under a 20 year Power Purchase Agreement, Secure Futures will install, build, own, operate and maintain the solar photovoltaic system, and sell the electricity generated by the system to Lexington City Schools. The agreement represents the first of its kind for a public school located in the Shenandoah Valley, and will join Albemarle County Public Schools as among the first school districts under Secure Futures’ Solar Schools Initiative.
Lylburn-Downing Middle School will receive 100 kW of solar power, equivalent to roughly 10 average U.S. homes.
Who Funded the Project?
Secure Futures LLC, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Lylburn Solar, LLC, has entered into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Lexington City Schools (LCS) to finance, install and operate solar panels on Lylburn-Downing Middle School. LCS hosts the solar facility, and buys electricity generated from the panels at a predetermined price through the PPA. SolarWorld Americas Inc. provided the engineering, solar panels and other equipment, all made in America. The project is financed by a bridge loan from Community Capital Bank of Virginia, with permanent financing from M&T Bank and a REAP grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Who Installed and Maintains the Panels?
The 288 high-efficiency photovoltaic panels were manufactured by SolarWorld Americas Inc, and were installed by Got Electric, based in Maryland, in partnership with Aurora Energy Inc, based in Maryland.
Secure Futures LLC monitors the system’s daily production online and conducts annual performance testing and maintenance on site.
What Solar Technology was Used?
Secure Futures used 288 Solar World 345 XL Monocrystalline Modules
- Panels manufactured in Hillsboro, Oregon
- Solar World USA employs 900 workers at their Hillsboro factory
- Panels have 35-45 year service lives and 25 year warranties
- For durability tests, watch “Solar World Sunmodule solar panels exceed international testing standards for proven quality” on Youtube.
- In less than two years, a Solar World 345 XL Monocrystalline panel will have overcome its embodied energy.
Secure Futures used UNIRAC Roof Mount racking
- Headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Manufactured in Alexandria, Minnesota
- Self-ballasted = no roof penetrations
- Maintains roof warranties
Secure Futures used Solectria Inverters
- Headquartered and manufactured in Lawrence, Massachusetts
- Maximum redundancy (prevents one string malfunction from shutting down the whole solar array)
- Web-based monitoring
How will the Solar Technology be Used in the Classroom?
Beginning in 2017, Secure Futures will donate curriculum-enhancement tools and teacher training to Lexington City in order to bring the solar energy technology on the rooftop into the classroom. Lessons in math, science, social studies, and more have the potential to utilize these resources.
Solar energy is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States today, adding over 35,000 new jobs nationwide in 2015 according to the Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census, and these tools will give our children a leg up as possible future leaders and employees in this workforce.
Secure Futures is partnering with the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project to provide
- Classroom solar kits
- A teacher training workday, which teachers may apply to their continuing education requirements, that covers solar technology, how to use the kits, and how to access the web-based data monitoring systems.
Interactive Solar Picnic Table
- Manufactured in Roanoke, Virginia
- Interact with solar technology safely on the ground
- Students can charge their laptops or other devices
- Includes a battery back-up system
- ADA accessible
Web-Based Monitoring Page
- Student-accessible data monitoring
- Data calculated daily, weekly, monthly, annually, and across system life
- Environmental benefit equivalencies valued (Ex. Carbon Footprint reduction)
Click here for a downloadable version of this case study (PDF)