Thursday, December 02, 2010

Mount Diablo Unified School District Awards Largest Solar School Contract to SunPower

SAN JOSE, Calif., Dec. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Mount Diablo Unified School District and SunPower Corp. (Nasdaq: SPWRA, SPWRB) today announced an award to SunPower for the design, installation and maintenance of solar power systems at 51 schools, totaling 11.2 megawatts of solar capacity. Resulting from a rigorous selection process, the agreement is the largest contract issued to install solar by a school district in the U.S., and is expected to save the district $192 million over the 30-year life of the systems.

"Motivated by the promise of significant cost savings, the Mount Diablo Unified School District began investigating solar energy over 18 months ago," says School Board Vice President Gary Eberhart. "We are very excited to team with SunPower to bring the largest K-12 solar project in the country to fruition. We are delivering substantial savings to our general fund, which will preserve financial resources and help our schools maintain an emphasis on academic performance. Saving our schools' money, while reducing emissions, is the right thing to do for our students and the environment."

"The Mount Diablo Unified School District is capturing a great opportunity to reduce its utility costs while helping the state meet its renewable energy goals," said Jim Pape, president of SunPower's residential and commercial business group. "It is especially rewarding to see the high efficiency solar technology developed here in California by SunPower, now being deployed to deliver tremendous benefits to California schools. SunPower's technology, experience and service capabilities will serve to ensure Mount Diablo Unified achieves impressive long term savings."

The solar systems by SunPower, to be completed in phases through early 2012, will be shade structures installed in school parking lots and hard court areas. The systems will be financed through Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) secured by the district under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. CREBs are beneficial to school districts because most of the interest is paid by the federal government. The interest-rate paid by the district is about 1.7 percent.

SunPower has more than 550 large scale solar power systems in operation or under contract globally. In the last year in California, educational customers have included the Los Angeles Unified School District, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, University of California, Merced, Bakersfield College and Mendocino College.