BAKERSFIELD, Calif. and SAN JOSE, Calif., May 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kern High School District (KHSD) and SunPower Corp. (Nasdaq: SPWR) announced an agreement today to design and build 22 megawatts of solar power systems at 27 district sites. According to data provided by The Solar Foundation, the agreement is the largest contracted commitment to solar power by any school district in the U.S. Once the systems are operational in 2016, the district estimates that it will achieve $80 million in savings in electricity costs over 25 years.
"As a result of the SunPower systems, Kern High School District will significantly reduce the percentage of our budget allocated for electricity, allowing us to enhance academic and extracurricular programs and plan additional facility upgrades," said Dr. Scott Cole, Associate Superintendent of the Business Division for KHSD. "SunPower's deep experience working with school districts is as important as the long-term performance of its technology. We're looking forward to generating on-site emission-free solar power to support our operations and our community."
Construction will begin on the solar power systems this summer. The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2016, and will be financed through a power purchase agreement. For no upfront capital investment, the agreement provides the district with both competitive electricity rates and a hedge against potential utility rate increases. KHSD will own the renewable energy credits associated with the systems.
Sage Renewable Energy Consulting, Inc., an independent energy consulting firm, was retained by the district to help guide the vendor selection process and ensure that district goals are met from design through implementation.
SunPower is also working with KHSD to expand the district's commitment to high quality science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. Currently, eight district schools provide STEM curriculum through programs offered by Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a leading provider of K-12 STEM curriculum and teacher professional development. SunPower's in-kind contribution to the district is expected to enable KHSD to include two additional schools in these programs and enhance the district's existing programs over 20 years.
"Kern High School District is leading the nation with this very significant commitment to solar power at its schools," said Howard Wenger, SunPower president, business units. "SunPower works with school districts that are seeking ways to reduce operating costs and repurpose the savings to the classroom. It is extremely rewarding to partner with our public schools to deliver clean power with a SunPower system, while inspiring teachers and students with the great power and potential of the sun."
At the district sites, SunPower will design and install solar systems using SunPower® solar panels, the most efficient and reliable panels on the market today. The systems will be installed as solar carports in school parking lots, taking advantage of underutilized space and providing needed shade.
According to estimates provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the KHSD solar power systems will avoid production of approximately 17,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, which is the equivalent of removing about 81,500 cars from California's roads over the next 25 years.
SunPower is a leader in delivering energy solutions to school districts in the U.S. To date, the company has completed or is installing solar power systems at 250 schools totaling more than 83 megawatts which, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, is enough to power almost 14,000 average California homes.
About Kern High School District
The Kern High School District is located in Bakersfield, California and serves the county of Kern located at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley. The Kern High School District is California's largest 9-12 high school district with more than 37,000 students and 4,000 employees. Founded in 1893, the KHSD currently includes 18 comprehensive campuses, five alternative education campuses, four special education centers, three career technical education sites, one adult education center, and one charter school.
SunPower Corp. (Nasdaq: SPWR) designs, manufactures and delivers the highest efficiency, highest reliability solar panels and systems available today. Residential, business, government and utility customers rely on SunPower's 30 years of experience and guaranteed performance to provide maximum return on investment throughout the life of the solar system. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., SunPower has offices in North and South America, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia. For more information, visit www.sunpower.com.
SunPower's Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, but not limited to, statements regarding our plans and objectives for existing and future project development and construction; project development and construction. These forward-looking statements are based on our current assumptions, expectations and beliefs and involve substantial risks and uncertainties that may cause results, performance or achievement to materially differ from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to: (1) competition in the industry and downward pressure on average selling prices; (2) our liquidity, substantial indebtedness, and our ability to obtain additional financing for our projects and our customers; (3) our ability to meet our cost reduction targets; (4) regulatory changes and the availability of economic incentives promoting use of solar energy; (5) challenges inherent in constructing and maintaining certain of our large projects, such as the Solar Star projects; (6) the success of our ongoing research and development efforts and commercialization of new products and services; (7) fluctuations in our operating results; (8) manufacturing difficulties that could arise; and (9) challenges managing our joint ventures. A detailed discussion of these factors and other risks that affect our business is included in filings we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from time to time, including our most recent reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q, particularly under the heading "Risk Factors." Copies of these filings are available online from the SEC or on the SEC Filings section of our Investor Relations website at investors.sunpowercorp.com. All forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information currently available to us, and we assume no obligation to update these forward-looking statements in light of new information or future events.
SOURCE SunPower Corp.