The Athenian School shows solar smarts

DANVILLE, CALIFORNIA - The Athenian School in Danville will soon be using renewable electricity harvested from the sun to meet half of its annual energy needs.

The school announced plans for a new 220-kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic project, which will be installed by REC Solar, Inc. and financed and operated by Tioga Energy.

Comprised of 1,300 Mitsubishi Electric solar panels ground-mounted in a 30,000 square foot likeness of the School’s trademark “A”, the visually unique system is expected to be one of California’s largest non-profit solar energy projects upon completion.

“Environmental stewardship is one of the pillars upon which the School was founded,” said Eleanor Dase, Head of School. “We are excited and pleased to be able to model this value for our students, as well as do our part to use green energy and reduce global warming.”

“The Athenian School is leading by example in going solar. Many schools in California are going solar because it makes economic and environmental sense to do so,” said Angiolo Laviziano, president and CEO of REC Solar. “Our engineering and installation team are very passionate about building solar for the next generation.”

Tioga Energy is financing the project through a SurePath Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that requires no upfront capital outlay by the School. Under the long-term contract, Tioga will own and operate the system and sell the renewable electricity generated to The Athenian School at predictable rates. As a result, the School expects to reduce its annual energy costs from the systemÂ’s first day of operation and for the duration of the PPA.

“The Athenian School has already demonstrated extraordinary commitment through the planning and groundbreaking phases of this solar energy project,” said Paul Detering, CEO of Tioga Energy. “We’re looking forward to helping convert that environmental vision into tangible benefits for its students, its community and the planet.”

Over the twenty-year SurePath PPA, the solar array will avoid generating nearly 12,800 pounds of smog-producing emissions and 66,087,654 pounds of carbon dioxide. The reduction in greenhouse gases alone is the approximate equivalent of taking 55 passenger cars off of CaliforniaÂ’s roads each year.

In addition to reducing pollutants, the high-efficiency Mitsubishi Electric modules use lead-free solder, eliminating the harmful ingredient commonly used in solder in traditional modules.

"Solar power is right for so many reasons, especially in a school environment,” said Gina Heng, director of sales and marketing for Mitsubishi Electric USA, Photovoltaic Division. “Students can experience the benefits of earth-friendly technology on a daily basis, so that in the years ahead they will view solar as a primary – not alternative – source of energy.”


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