SMMUSD HDQTRS — Nine schools in Santa Monica and Malibu could be generating solar power by early next year, after the school board on Wednesday gave its final approval to install solar panels.

Ralph Mechur, vice president of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District board, said the deal could save the district as much as $5 million on energy costs over the next 25 years.

Under the deal, the district has agreed to give Regeneration Finance the right to install the panels on the roofs of nine campuses at no cost. The district will buy energy from the company for $0.131 per kilowatt hour with a 4 percent escalator for a 25-year term.

The agreement is expected to prevent 23,822 tons of greenhouse gases from being produced, according to an SMMUSD report.

“It shows leadership in sustainability and it will reduce our energy costs over the next 25 years,” Mechur said.

All five of the board members present for the vote on Wednesday approved the deal. Board members Oscar de la Torre and Jose Escarce did not attend.

According to Todd Friedman, Regeneration’s vice president of sales and business development, the electricity generated by the solar systems will offset nearly 95 percent of the energy charges at the nine campuses where the panels will be installed.

The campuses slated to receive solar panels are: Grant, Franklin, McKinley, Muir/SMASH, Will Rogers, Roosevelt, Cabrillo, Pt. Dume, and Webster elementary schools.

Mechur said the panels will also serve as educational tools for students in the district.

nickt@smdp.com

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