The Durango 9R School District (9R) is illuminating its path to a more sustainable future with a groundbreaking Energy Performance Contract (EPC) in partnership with Veregy. This comprehensive project will harness the power of the sun to generate clean energy, slash utility costs, and significantly reduce the District’s carbon footprint.

Through the EPC, Veregy will design and partner with local contractors to construct three carport and four rooftop solar systems at six 9R schools. This 1.12 MW combined solar investment, coupled with energy-efficient lighting, and building envelope upgrades, is projected to save the District over $11 million in utility costs over the next 20 years, which ultimately pays for the project and includes additional net savings in the general budget. The program also leverages nearly $2.7M in lighting rebates and federal solar incentives to help pay for the project. Additionally, the solar panels and lighting savings are expected to reduce 9R’s carbon emissions by an impressive 1,760 metric tons annually, equivalent to taking 392 gasoline-powered cars off the road annually.

The project is expected to take under a year to install and will start in early Spring of 2024. Veregy and 9R have worked closely together to submit all six schools’ solar interconnection applications over the past several months. La Plata Electric Association’s (LPEA) excellent cooperation has swiftly allowed 9R to take advantage of this renewable energy opportunity in a net metering environment. Veregy and LPEA have collaboratively taken active roles in helping the District accomplish its sustainability goals and are proud of the District for being bold in this effort.

Project Highlights
Beyond solar at the six schools, the EPC also encompasses a range of energy-saving measures that will be implemented across the District:

  • Energy-efficient lighting upgrades such as replacing outdated high-pressure sodium lighting with high high-efficiency LEDs, further reducing energy consumption and maintenance costs.
  • Building envelope improvements include air sealing and insulation upgrades that will minimize energy loss and create more comfortable learning environments.
  • Retrofitting Durango High School’s athletic field lighting and energy-saving lighting controls bring a new level of improved visibility to their athletes and their spectators.

“The Durango School District is excited to see this project get underway. We feel fortunate to be working with Veregy, an industry leader in efficiency solutions, to bring solar arrays to six of our schools, while shoring up building envelopes on eight schools and continuing our conversion to energy-efficient lighting throughout the District. We are thrilled to see that this project will not only reduce energy consumption, meeting some of our sustainability goals, but also that the project is budget neutral, which we feel is a huge benefit for our community.”

-Chris Coleman, Durango 9R Chief Operations Officer

By combining solar energy with other energy-saving solutions, Veregy has created a comprehensive package that will deliver significant financial and environmental benefits for the District for years to come. The 9R solar project is a shining example of how school districts can embrace renewable energy to achieve their sustainability goals while saving taxpayer dollars. It paves the way for a brighter future for the Durango community, one powered by clean energy and a commitment to environmental responsibility.