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Renewable Energy 101: How Schools Can Make the Grade with Green Power.

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Presentation on theme: "Renewable Energy 101: How Schools Can Make the Grade with Green Power."— Presentation transcript:

1 Renewable Energy 101: How Schools Can Make the Grade with Green Power

2 2 What is Green Power? Biogas Biomass Solar Small-Hydro Geothermal Wind Electricity generated from natural resources that replenish themselves over short periods of time, including the sun, wind, moving water, organic plant and waste material (biomass), and the Earth’s heat (geothermal).

3 K-12 School Fast Facts Educational buildings* consume 109 billion kWh of electricity annually (2003 data) 75 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions Equiv. to GHG emissions of nearly 15 million cars 17,000+ K-12 schools in the U.S. 31 Green Power Partner K-12 schools: 831 million kWh of electricity annually 181 million kWh of green power annually (~22%) Avoiding more than 125,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually Equiv. to removing the GHG emissions of more than 24,000 cars/year *Includes colleges & universities 3

4 4 Green Power Procurement Options Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) The environmental “attributes” of electricity generated from renewable resources (1 REC = 1 MWh) Attributes are based on the generation technology type and age, geographic location, and time of generation Does not include the underlying electrons – “unbundled” a.k.a. Green Tags, Renewable Energy Credits, and Tradeable Renewable Energy Certificates Green Power Electricity Products Green power offered by utility suppliers that is all, or partially, generated from renewable sources Is often a “bundled” product that includes both the RECs as well as the underlying electrons On-site Generation Install a renewable energy system on-site (e.g. solar panels, wind turbine) Produces both electricity and RECs from the on-site source Self-financed installation or via a third-party PPA

5 5 REC Transaction Process

6 6 Solar Power Purchase Agreements (SPPA) SPPA is a financial arrangement in which a third-party developer owns, operates, and maintains the photovoltaic (PV) system, and a host customer agrees to site the system on its property and purchases the system’s electric output for a predetermined period Addresses many of the traditional barriers to adoption for organizations looking to install solar systems: high up-front capital costs system performance risk complex design and permitting processes Learn more at:

7 7 SPPA Process & Participants Adapted from Rahus Institute’s “The Customer’s Guide to Solar Power Purchase Agreements” (2008)

8 8 Large electricity loads (>200,000 kWh/yr) Load profiles that match peak demand 10,000 sq ft of unshaded space available Investment-grade credit Rooftops less than 10 years old (for roof mount systems) Located in area with high electricity costs as well as pro-solar polices and incentives Are SPPAs Right for K-12 Districts? Ideal SPPA Host Characteristics Typical District

9 9 Benefits & Challenges for Host No upfront capital cost Predictable energy pricing No operating risk Projects can be cash flow positive from day one Demonstrable environmental commitment Potential to make claims about being solar powered Potential reduction in carbon footprint Potential increase in property value Support for local job market More complex negotiations and higher transaction costs than buying PV system Administrative cost of paying two separate electricity bills if system does not meet 100 percent of demand Site lease that may limit ability to make changes to property that would affect PV system performance or access to the system Understand trade offs related to REC ownership/sale. Benefits Challenges

10 10 Solar RECs & Environmental Claims We are hosting a solar power system We are producing solar power We are producing emissions-free power Our utility pays us to generate solar (if utility buying RECs) If Host does NOT own RECs, appropriate claims include: If Host own RECs, appropriate claims include: We are using solar power We are solar powered We are reducing our carbon footprint

11 11 EPA’s Green Power Partnership Voluntary EPA program that seeks to reduce GHG emissions by increasing the use of green power among leading U.S. organizations. Partners purchase green power in an amount that must meet or exceed the EPA benchmarks and in return receive EPA technical assistance and recognition. Currently more than 1,300 Partners, including Fortune 500 ® companies, small and medium sized businesses, states, local governments, and colleges and universities.

12 12 How Much Green Power to Join?

13 13 Partnership Offerings & Benefits Credible Benchmarks Metric for “How much green power is enough?” Definition of eligible renewables Planning & Implementation Resources Green power locator Procurement guidance Marketing and communications support Environmental benefits calculator Recognition Top Partner Lists (inc. Top 20 K-12) Green Power Leadership Awards  Promotional opportunities Use of the Partner logo 

14 K-12 Green Power Partners Dec. 2011

15 15 K-12 Schools in the News

16 16 Case Study: The Athenian School Located in Danville, CA On-site solar array supplies ~55% of campus energy needs SRECS are sold Replacement RECs purchased to support renewable energy claims Solar panels on the roof of the Dase Center supply the building's electricity Solar thermal panels on the roof of the gym heat the swimming pool

17 17 Case Study: Chicago Public Schools Third-largest school district in the United States (675 schools) Largest K-12 purchaser in Green Power Partnership Green power purchasing is one of 24 specific strategies in CPS’ Environmental Action Plan: ntal_Action_Plan.pdf Other energy-specific strategies: ENERGY STAR equipment procurement, retrofits & commissioning, LEED Silver building standards, and energy management systems Purchasing more than 100 million kWh of RECs annually Generating more than 160,000 kWh a year from a 65 KW solar array Received 2010 Green Power Leadership Award

18 Green Power Locator 18 Click on your state to find green power options available to you RECS Green power products

19 19 Want to Know More? Basic Information An overview of Green Power Partnership is available on EPA’s Web site To see full details of program requirements, please see: To see EPA’s Green Power Purchasing Guide, please visit: To see EPA’s Green Power Locator, please visit: More Questions? Jake Sneeden, ERG (Contractor to GPP), 617.357.4628,

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