The Denver Public School Board has approved plans for the development of photovoltaic solar energy projects on 16 school buildings throughout the district.

The projects are the result of more than two years of planning and coordination by Denver-based renewable-energy developer Oak Leaf Energy Partners with the school district and the Denver Green Print Council. The projects will be owned and operated by San Francisco-based MP2 Capital. MP2 will then sell the electricity produced to the district under a Power Purchase Agreement.

The School Board’s approval will elevate Denver as a leader in school-based sustainability initiatives, both in Colorado and nationally. The systems will be designed and built by Boulder-based Namasté Solar.

“We enlisted Namasté Solar as our partner as they are not only the best-of-breed integrator in Colorado, they truly believe and embrace the educational and social component of their work,” said Oak Leaf Managing Partner John Hereford. “The fact that the district really embraced this aspect of our proposal has made this an ideal partnership.”

The projects will be completed on several sites throughout the district. The locations were selected by the optimal solar and roof qualities of the schools. The 16 systems will total approximately 1.8 mw of capacity and generate approximately 44 million kwh of clean solar electricity over the course of the 20-year PPA. The systems are expected be completed by November, with the first project coming on line in March.

In addition to providing clean electricity, the projects also include an extensive educational curriculum for the host schools. Created by Namasté Solar, and taught by local teachers, the program will concentrate on the science and economics of photovoltaic energy generation.

“Projects that deliver solar electricity to schools represent some of the most rewarding projects that we do,” said Mark Lerdal, chief executive officer of MP2 Capital. “It is pretty special to have an opportunity to improve the environment, lower the electricity bill for the school district and provide a positive influence for children.”

 The host schools are:
• Martin Luther King Middle School
• Place Middle School
• Montbello High School
• Manual High School
• Rachel B. Noel Middle School
• Green Valley Ranch Elementary School
• Greenwood Elementary School
• Thomas Jefferson High School
• Waller Elementary School
• East High School
• Grant Ranch Elementary School
• Lowry Elementary School
• Bruce Randolph Middle School
• South High School
• Fallis Elementary School
• Green Valley Ranch High School