School Board Ready to Sign Contracts for Solar Program
The Fairfax County School Board voted unanimously yesterday to move forward with a solar program that will allow FCPS to purchase renewable energy with little or no upfront or operational costs. The Board authorized FCPS leadership to negotiate, execute and administer project contracts with approved solar contractors.
The Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) program will install solar panels on school buildings with the goal of reducing FCPS’ greenhouse gas emissions and electricity costs.
As part of each project-specific agreement, one of the selected solar contractors will install and operate solar panels on school facilities. FCPS and/or county entities will purchase the generated electricity at a fixed rate over a fixed term of 25-28 years.
The motion to approve the solar facilities contract was introduced by the Board’s Dranesville District Representative Elaine Tholen. “This program will enable us to quickly begin an environmentally-friendly program that will help us keep utility costs low,” said Tholen. “It will also bring us one step closer to the proposed Joint Environmental Task Force goal, that we share with Fairfax County, to become carbon neutral (net zero carbon dioxide emissions).”
Tholen also recognized Solar on the Schools, an FCPS student group. She said, “They have encouraged the Board for years to move in this direction. We thank them for their work and for the fact that we are ready to sign contracts and move ahead with this exciting project.”
Solar contractors will be responsible for designing, permitting, installing, operating, and maintaining rooftop and/or canopy-mounted solar panels and associated equipment.
FCPS and Virginia-based Sigora Solar are in discussions to begin the solar program at three sites: Annandale High School, Hayfield Secondary School and Robinson Secondary School. No actual designs or project drawings are available at this time.
As part of an ongoing partnership with Fairfax County to expand the use of solar energy in schools, vendor contracts were announced in December 2019.
The original county request for proposal (RFP) for the FCPS solar program, the following 87 sites were included:
South County Middle School
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
West Springfield Elementary
For more information, contact the FCPS Office of Communication and Community Relations at 571-423-1200.###