California’s Newark Unified School District adds solar + storage system via ForeFront Power

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The Newark Unified School District (USD) in California worked with ForeFront Power to install a 1.4 MW solar energy and storage system at Newark Memorial High School and Newark Junior High School. The District will now generate 1.7 GWh of renewable electricity annually and is expected to save nearly $6 million over the 20-year term of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), with an estimated $120,000 savings in the first year alone.

“Newark USD has taken this step to ensure that its facilities are equipped with climate resilient and cost-effective renewable energy solutions,” said Rachel McLaughlin, ForeFront Power’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “The project’s fixed rate will protect the District’s budget from utility rate hikes for the next two decades, and the installed, intelligent battery storage system further increases the financial savings for the District.”

The smart battery storage system desgined by ForeFront will kick in during moments of maximum electricity usage to minimize the impact of peak charges from the utility. The District has access to a real-time performance monitoring platform, allowing District officials to create reports and visualize related environmental offsets and savings. The partnership also includes customizable renewable energy curriculum support that enhances the existing energy, environment, and sustainability elements of Newark USD’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) education for students.

“Seeing this solar portfolio live and operational is like looking into the future of our District,” said Dr. Mark Triplett, Newark USD Superintendent, noting that the cost savings will help them fund and expand new educational programs. “Locking in rates through on-site solar and battery storage in an era of rising costs helps us better leverage taxpayer dollars to serve our students and their families.”

Newark USD selected ForeFront Power via the Renewable Energy Aggregated Procurement (REAP) Program offered by SPURR. SPURR, a Joint Powers Authority of hundreds of public education agencies, uses competitive solicitations, aggregated buying power, and technical expertise to obtain excellent pricing and terms for utilities-related goods and services. The REAP Program allows any California public agency to obtain the best solar and energy storage pricing and terms from a competitive statewide solicitation.

Leveraging the REAP Program’s RFP process, Newark USD chose ForeFront Power to develop, finance, and construct its solar and energy storage portfolio. In addition to these substantial savings, the District is now visibly demonstrating to students and the community its commitment to clean energy.

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