Press & News

City of Anaheim Creates New Solar Revenue Stream for 5 School Districts

April 10, 2019 | San Luis Obispo, CA for immediate release

Renewable energy installations at nine schools create long-term general fund revenues that deliver zero-emissions solar power to low-income residents


anaheim city schools solar carport installation
A 120.87kW solar shade structure installation at an Anaheim City school

REC Solar | Duke Energy Renewables, a national leader in US commercial renewable energy financing and zero-emissions solar and wind project development, announced today that the City of Anaheim Public Utilities (City of Anaheim) in Anaheim, California is providing the benefits of solar energy to low-income customers through new solar projects deployed at nine K-12 public schools.

“Solar in schools and public spaces brings so much more to communities than simply reducing emissions and utility bills,” said Matt Walz, CEO REC Solar. “The City of Anaheim is a great example. The utility meets its targets by licensing land from schools, creating long-term revenue streams for districts and immediate solar structure shade and educational opportunities for students and staff. The solar generated then produces zero-emissions energy for low income residents who may not afford it otherwise. The benefits are truly full circle.”

The City of Anaheim covered 100 percent of the costs to build nine solar sites located in five different school districts. The City developed license agreements to build solar generation on school property, creating new general funds revenue streams that each district can rely on for the next 20 years.

“We approached our need for more solar generation as a way to build win/win partnerships with schools and our community,” said Mark Brownrigg, Project Manager at the City of Anaheim. “Like many other cities, land is at a premium and public spaces to build ground mount solar in Anaheim are hard to find. So we had to get creative.”

The City of Anaheim and REC Solar entered into a design-build agreement to build solar structures uniquely suited to each school’s needs:

  • Solar carports:
    • Anaheim Elementary School District’s Franklin Elementary and Betsy Ross Elementary schools;
    • Magnolia School District’s Lord Baden Powell and Dr. Jonas E. Salk Elementary schools;
    • Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District’s Esperanza High School,
    • and Savanna School District’s Hansen Elementary.
  • Solar shade structures:
    • Centralia Elementary School District’s Centralia Elementary replaced an aging shade structure over the lunch area and Danbrook Elementary gained solar generation weather protection over a popular outdoor play area.
    • Savanna School District’s Cerritos Elementary students escape heat under a new solar structure protecting their school bus pickup and drop-off zone.

“We can make many energy efficiency upgrades, but nothing stands out quite like driving by a school and seeing the solar panel carports. Our school community especially loves the opportunity to park their car under the shaded structure on a hot day,” said Paul Juarez, Energy Manager for more than 30 schools in Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District. “Our district continues to work aggressively to lower our carbon footprint. Replacing lighting also works great, but solar panel carports in our high school parking lots is the most visible way to ensure our community sees our efforts. Providing students with a new educational experience is a big bonus too.”

anaheim city schools solar power monitoring
Along with solar energy generation, REC Solar provides a Green Power Monitor that students and staff can easily use for hands-on learning about math, energy and climate.

Juarez said that high school students created technical renderings for the solar carports so their school board could see how the structures would look when completed. In the future, teachers at all of the schools can create lesson plans and students can monitor and study their site’s solar energy production using Green Power Monitoring (GPM) provided by REC Solar.

The solar power generated is not used at the school but instead provides electricity for the City of Anaheim’s Income Qualified Green Power Discount program. The program is designed to provide residents with immediate access to the benefits of solar that they may not previously been able to afford or have access to. It also helps the utility meet its goals of transitioning from 29% renewables today to California state mandates of 60% renewable generation by 2030.

The installations at all nine schools are fully operational and the City of Anaheim already has over 400 customers signed up for the Income Qualified Green Power Discount.


Media Contact – City of Anaheim

Mike Lyster

About REC Solar

REC Solar is a top three US enterprise, public sector and utility-scale solar solutions integrator. In 1997, our founders had a simple idea — create better power. Since then, we have developed nearly 800 commercial solar, storage and microgrids projects that empower our customers to dramatically cut costs, increase energy reliability and slash emissions even as they grow their operations. REC Solar was fully acquired by Duke Energy in 2018 and is part of Duke Energy Renewables.

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