Five schools within the district started the year with fully functioning solar panels installed on the buildings, and by May, 11 more schools will be solar powered.
It's all thanks to a public-private-partnership between Denver Public Schools, Boulder-based Namaste Solar, Denver-based Oak Leaf Energy Partners and MP2 Capital, all of which helped secure more than $3 million worth of grants from Xcel Energy and $2.5 million worth of federal funding for the solar panels.
The solar panels are expected to save DPS $1.1 million over the life of the program and according to MP2's CEO Mark Lerdal, the savings are immediate.
"Denver Public Schools had savings on day one," Lerdal said. "They don't pay anything. They payed less for their electricity the second that we turned the project on. So for Denver Public Schools, it's a win right away."
Students at the solar powered schools are also benefiting. Namaste Solar is working with Denver Public Schools to create a curriculum that incorporates the science and economics of solar energy and will bring the curriculum into the classroom through individual monitoring systems that track energy output at each school.
(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)