ForeFront Power and Bakersfield City School District (BCSD) are pleased to announce an expanded solar energy partnership that will see 2.3 MW of solar photovoltaic capacity installed across 10 schools. This latest deal builds upon an existing 1.7 MW of capacity across five BCSD schools installed in 2017, and this expansion will save the district approximately $4 million over 20 years.
BCSD utilized an innovative purchasing framework through the School Project for Utility Rate Reduction (SPURR) that allows public agencies in California to “piggy-back” a competitive Request for Proposal process for solar energy. SPURR’s program mitigates many challenges of public procurement, like consultant fees and long contract negotiations.
The SPURR Renewable Energy Aggregated Procurement (REAP) Program solves these issues through aggregated, competitive procurements, taking advantage of SPURR’s large market presence, and resulting in pre-negotiated contracts, industry-leading pricing and standardized terms for public agencies in California like BCSD. This program allows schools, colleges, and other agencies to benefit from clean energy sooner with less sourcing expense and effort, while leveraging a highly competitive procurement process.
“Our staff appreciates the size and purchasing power that SPURR leveraged in their RFP process to offer deals that are attractive and keep the price down,” said Steve McClain, assistant superintendent, business services at BCSD. “ForeFront Power’s team has also been fantastic by running in overdrive to ensure that paperwork and documentation were completed on time for utility deadlines.”
ForeFront Power’s development team is the only solar and energy storage developer to win SPURR’s REAP Program. Since 2015, the SPURR REAP program and the ForeFront Power team have helped school districts procure more than 40 MW of clean solar power across more than 60 sites.
“ForeFront Power is excited to continue our partnership with Bakersfield City School District to maximize energy savings,” said CEO Rafael Dobrzynski. “BCSD has a goal to increase energy sustainability and we are thrilled to continue supporting them in this effort.”
“The SPURR program saves considerable time, effort, and money for our program participants, both in the procurement process and in the goods and services obtained. And we provide clear, fair, competitively-sourced terms and conditions that can be reviewed and understood at the start of an organization’s investigation of solar or energy storage,” said Michael Rochman, managing director of SPURR.
The SPURR REAP Program offers a more competitive procurement process than a single-customer procurement by leveraging the buying power of more than 240 member districts as well as SPURR’s cooperating agency, Fresno Unified School District, the 4th largest school district in California. The entire process is completely transparent and available to any public agency in California.
This 2.3-MW expansion across 10 sites marks the second time that BCSD has leveraged SPURR to procure solar energy with the ForeFront Power team. The additional solar energy capacity will result in approximately $4 million in savings for the district and the equivalent of over 120 million pounds of carbon emissions removed from the grid according to the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. ForeFront Power will manage all aspects of project development, including financing via a Power Purchase Agreement that requires no upfront cost or bonds on the part of BCSD.
BCSD’s decision to adopt solar through SPURR and ForeFront Power also included free energy lesson plans from Schools Power, a leading national education organization that provides school districts with standards-based renewable energy curriculum packages. ForeFront Power and Schools Power announced their partnership in July of last year.
“We have a direct focus on science, technology, engineering and math education for our students,” said Steve McClain. “Our teachers don’t have to go on a field trip to integrate math, science and other lessons with renewable energy right here on our campuses.”
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