PsomasFMG Starts PV Design-Build Project for AVUHSD

PsomasFMG has started construction on a $52-million, 9.6 Megawatt photovoltaic design-build project for the Antelope Valley Union High School District (AVUHSD).

The project, the largest school solar power installation to date in California, is a public-private partnership between PsomasFMG, LLC and the AVUHSD. PsomasFMG is providing a turnkey solar solution for the school district, including arranging for private investor financing. The solar system is being constructed for the school district without any capital expenditure by the district.

"The solar solution we are celebrating today is a classic win-win public-private partnership that will help us cut our energy costs and provide shade in our parking lot, with no upfront costs," said Jeffrey Foster, deputy superintendent for the District. "PsomasFMG has been a willing partner, clearly explaining the project, delivering their product, and helping develop a green curriculum that will benefit our students. We look forward to flipping the switch and bringing our District into a greener future."

The power installation will promote the school district's energy independence, substantially decrease its electrical costs, and over the next 20 years reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 250,000 tons. The solar project is engineered to produce clean, green energy for more than 80 percent of the school district's electrical needs. Southern California Edison will supplement the school district's remaining energy requirements at a reduced rate.

PsomasFMG will provide long-term asset management for the project, which includes the sale of electricity at a fixed rate through a power purchase agreement. During its first full year of energy independence, the AVUHSD has forecast an 18 percent reduction in electrical expenses. Over the next 20 years, the school district is projected to generate a savings of more than $40 million in energy costs.

"The Antelope Valley Union High School District project is a custom-designed solar solution, and a good example of future projects that PsomasFMG will be installing for school districts, public agencies and commercial entities throughout Southern California and the Southwest," said Paul Mikos, executive vice president of the company. "These kinds of projects are especially important to our schools: Not only do they promote energy independence and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there is potential that the long-term savings in energy costs could be redirected to fund essential education programs and services."

Ten campuses within the AVUHSD are participating in the installation, which includes the construction of steel-frame canopies to support solar panels and provide shaded parking for approximately 4,000 faculty and student vehicles. The 9.6 Megawatt power generation will use approximately 41,000 photovoltaic panels that will absorb sunlight and convert it to electricity.

The aesthetically-designed solar structures will achieve the minimum visual impact while absorbing optimal amounts of sunlight. Cost-effective, state-of-the-art lighting will be mounted beneath the canopies, and less efficient pole lighting will be removed. The updated lighting will enhance personal safety, while video cameras will improve campus security.

The 10 solar systems are being installed in three phases, utilizing construction crews that move between the campuses allowing for the greatest economies of scale. The final systems are scheduled to be commissioned in early 2011.

The Palmdale School District (PSD) recently awarded a $30.8-million contract to PsomasFMG for the construction of a 6.4-Megawatt solar power installation at 19 sites. PsomasFMG is providing a turnkey solution for PSD, which includes financing for the design-build project and long-term asset management. Design and engineering are currently underway.


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