Honeywell Awarded Unique Solar Project for California School District
Honeywell today announced that the Pleasanton Unified School District in the San Francisco Bay Area has awarded the company a unique solar energy project, one of the first of its kind for a K-12 school district in California. Under the agreement, Honeywell will install, own and maintain solar panels on seven district buildings, and sell the electricity the panels produce to the district at a price significantly below its current utility rate.
"As caretakers of the public's money, our district always is exploring new ways to be more efficient," said Larry Lagatta, director of maintenance and operations at Pleasanton Unified School District, which serves 14,600 students in Pleasanton, Calif. "Through the agreement with Honeywell, we're able to realize significant cost savings, as well as address our primary goal of being good stewards of the environment."
The solar technology is expected to supply 20 percent of the district's electricity and save it an estimated $2.5 million in energy costs over the course of the 20-year contract. After the agreement expires, the school district can continue purchasing electricity from Honeywell, acquire ownership of the solar panels or explore other energy providers.
"This is the one of the first projects in California, and quite possibly the entire nation, where the contractor operates as the utility for a K-12 school district," said Brett Illers, chief operating officer at Information and Energy Services, Inc., an energy management consultant for the district. "Honeywell has taken an innovative step to help a school district with an inflexible budget lower its energy costs without requiring it to make an up-front capital investment or handle ongoing maintenance."
In addition to the environmental and financial benefits, the district is working with Honeywell and the National Energy Educational Development (NEED) - a non-profit organization that promotes energy awareness and education in schools - to create curriculum that teaches students about the district's solar panels and other energy-saving measures.
"A large part of becoming a more efficient school is educating students and staff about conservation practices that positively affect behaviors," said Bill Radulovich, principal at Walnut Grove Elementary School. "Through the new curriculum and solar technology, we hope to decrease our energy consumption and waste output by 50 percent in the coming years."
Honeywell Building Solutions expects to install the solar panels and begin providing the district with electricity by October 2007.
"The district, students, taxpayers - everyone benefits from a project like this. The same holds true for the environment," said Joe Puishys, president of Honeywell Building Solutions. "Plus, this type of project is easily repeatable. We look forward to helping Pleasanton and other school districts across the state reduce their utility bills in a responsible way with green, renewable energy."
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