Richmond Public Schools (www.rvaschools.net)
As a participant in the first round of the RVA Solar Fund, Richmond Public Schools (RPS) entered into a solar power purchase agreement (PPA) to have solar arrays installed on ten schools. RPS will receive a $100,000 grant from the fund.
Biggest School Project
As of October 2018, the largest on-site solar power installation of any educational institution in Virginia is Albemarle County Public Schools’ 1.1 MW of arrays over six schools. Richmond Public Schools’ project will be at least 2.6 MW when it is complete in 2019.
Clean Power & Cost Savings
RPS pays nothing to have the solar panels installed and will have no maintenance obligations. They simply pay for the solar electricity generated by the on-site panels. The district is projected to reduce total electricity costs by nearly $2,000,000 over the life of the PPA contract.
(above) Broad Rock Elementary School in South Richmond is one of the schools set to receive panels. This software simulation shows the what the proposed 224 kW solar array (about 600 panels) would look like from above.
(below) Students from Blackwell, Fisher, and Miles Jones Elementary School already have used solar learning kits as part of the 2017 Connect the Dots program.
The educational opportunities for solar power equipment on-site may be the most exciting part. STEM and CTE students will be able to get hands-on experience with the basic elements of what is now the world’s fastest-growing energy source and one of the top sources of new jobs in Virginia and the USA. Solar Fund partners will provide hand-on solar kits and curricula on solar energy, as well as teacher training workshops introducing them to the curricula and the solar equipment. Lesson plans meet SOLs and incorporate streaming data from the solar equipment installed on site.
Visionary Leadership from the School Board Launched the Effort
"I am so excited that the School Board voted unanimously to move forward with the RVA Solar Fund and a plan to put solar panels on ten Richmond Public Schools, saving the district approximately $2M in energy costs over the next twenty years. This is a win-win-win: we save money, we obtain fantastic curriculum and hands-on teaching opportunities in green jobs, and we reduce carbon emissions."
- RPS School Board Member Liz Doerr, who led the grant application