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Comprehensive energy program will leverage Federal funding to implement integrated solutions at all 27 school sites and capture an expected $106 million in net energy savings.


VENTURA, Calif. and HOUSTON – Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) recently approved a contract with ENGIE North America (ENGIE) for comprehensive solar, LED building lighting, customized sports facility LED lighting, and an integrated STEM internship and student engagement program. As the first K-12 school district along the Central Coast to leverage Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funding, VUSD will also utilize bond funding to help pay for the project and expand its technical scope which will positively improve sustainability outcomes across the District.

Serving approximately 15,000 students across 27 school and campus facility sites, VUSD leadership and the supporting community have long prioritized the design of a financially-viable energy program to capture energy savings and align with local and state climate action goals. ENGIE worked with the District to lock in favorable Net Energy Metering 2.0 rates for the next 20 years. VUSD is also committed to delivering sustainable solutions across all school sites – many of which are located in economically underserved parts of the city.

This project is financially attractive for the District and will reduce its overall electricity costs by 70 percent over 30 years. This work will be done across schools with a Southern California-based team of ENGIE project engineers. The combined project scope will include:

• 4,708 kW solar PV scope across 25 sites and parking canopy solar structures;

• Interior/exterior LED lighting and occupancy sensor controls at nine sites;

• Sports Field LED lighting at Buena High School and Ventura High School, reusing existing lighting infrastructure poles to minimize extended construction impact on the fields; and

• Integrated STEM offerings aligned with real-time project data production, including professional development for teachers, hands-on engineering design learning for students, and six dedicated summer intern opportunities for local students.

The VUSD program is expected to save $133 million in energy costs over the lifetime of the project. The District should be eligible for $14 million in IRA federal funding dollars that will go directly to it after the project is completely constructed.

“As thoughtful stewards of our community’s resources, Ventura Unified has been interested in solar energy and high-efficiency LED lighting systems for many years. Unfortunately, making those changes was cost-prohibitive until recently,” stated Board President, Sabrena Rodriguez. “Thanks to the generosity of our community by passing Measure E, a general obligation bond to update our schools, we can now make these changes a reality. These changes are not only a positive step towards sustainability and resilience for the District, but they will also provide opportunities for our students and staff to learn about how green technologies can be good for the financial bottom line — creating a win-win for the community and our schools.”
“The IRA is a true gamechanger for our ENGIE customers – now that we are seeing local leaders like VUSD start to directly build out projects that leverage potential IRA funding, it is clear what a win-win this is for energy communities across the U.S.,” said Jean-Francois Chartrain, Managing Director, Energy Solutions Americas at ENGIE. “We are excited to help VUSD expedite their plan for long-term sustainability that will enhance and elevate the District’s financial and environmental impact through our range of comprehensive solutions.”


About VUSD
The Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) is located in Southern California, in the coastal city of Ventura, approximately 70 miles north of Los Angeles. The District is made up of an early childhood education program, 26 elementary, middle, and high schools, with approximately 15,000 school-age students, an adult education center, 2,000 staff, and a wealth of parents and community members who all strive to help our children find their passion—academically and personally. For more information, visit www.venturausd.org.

About ENGIE North America
Based in Houston, Texas, ENGIE North America Inc. is a regional hub of ENGIE, a global leader in low-carbon energy and services. ENGIE (ENGI), is listed on the Paris and Brussels Stock Exchanges. Together with our 96,000 employees around the globe, our customers, partners and stakeholders, we are committed to accelerate the transition toward a carbon-neutral world, through reduced energy consumption and more environmentally friendly solutions. Inspired by our purpose (“raison d’être”), we reconcile economic performance with a positive impact on people and the planet, building on our key businesses (gas, renewable energy, services) to offer competitive solutions to our customers. In North America, ENGIE helps our clients achieve their energy efficiency, reliability, and ultimately, their sustainability goals, as we work together to shape a sustainable future. We accomplish this through: energy efficiency projects, providing energy supply (including renewables and natural gas), and the development, construction and operation of renewable energy assets (wind, solar, storage and more). For more information on ENGIE North America, please visit our LinkedIn page or Twitter feed, https://www.engie-na.com/ and https://www.engie.com.


Marieanne Quiroz, Director of Communications / PIO

ENGIE North America
Michael Clingan, Press and External Relations

Projects will support lower cost energy for households, organizations and businesses often unable to participate in the benefits of the energy transition.

HOUSTON – ENGIE North America (ENGIE) is collaborating with Microsoft on the development of two community solar projects in Illinois that will serve historically excluded communities and significantly reduce electricity costs for them.

ENGIE will develop, construct, and operate two new community solar gardens, one in Lena, IL west of Rockford, and a second in downstate Illinois. Together, the projects are expected to have a capacity of 4.75 MW, enough to meet the annual electricity needs of more than 1,000 average Illinois households with clean, carbon emissions-free power.

ENGIE and Microsoft will work with leading community solar provider, Solstice, who engages directly with residents, businesses, and community organizations to enroll and manage community solar customers with local community gardens like the ones in Lena and downstate Illinois. Community solar enables households, small businesses and other organizations to benefit from renewable electricity without the need to install their own panels by effectively sharing local, centralized installations. Solstice’s partnership and community organizing model help provide access to renewables for the estimated 77% of Americans who do not have access to roof space or the financial means to install rooftop systems and expands access to traditionally excluded populations.

Traditional approaches to financing have limited the ability of many to install roof-top solar. Solstice has pioneered EnergyScore, a machine learning algorithm to qualify individuals more inclusively and accurately for green products. The focus for these two solar gardens will be on providing access to renewable power to traditionally under-resourced communities, not-for-profit organizations, and other economically disadvantaged groups.

Customers who subscribe to the solar garden program will not only be supporting the transition to a lower carbon future but will also benefit from reduced electricity costs. Because of Microsoft’s involvement in financing the development, customers subscribed to these two solar gardens can expect to see even greater savings than from the current Illinois Shines community solar program. Once fully subscribed, the two solar gardens could save Illinois subscribers around $450,000 in total, with some subscribers benefiting from up to 60% savings through participation.

“At a time when energy costs are rising and are a particular burden on lower income communities, the opportunity to access clean, renewable, locally produced power and reduce daily costs is an important part of accelerating the energy transition in a just way – widening the population who can benefit as we all work to decarbonize our economy” said Laura Caspari, Senior Vice President Power Marketing and Commercial Strategy, ENGIE North America. “This innovative collaboration with Microsoft to help grow access to lower cost renewables for residents and organizations across Illinois reflects our shared desire to widen the positive impact of the energy transition to an increasingly diverse set of communities.”

“As we at Microsoft work toward a more sustainable and equitable future, we are pleased to collaborate with ENGIE and Solstice to help facilitate access to lower cost community solar for communities who have previously been excluded from these opportunities,” shared Danielle Decatur, Microsoft Director of Environmental Justice.

In Illinois, community solar projects were enabled through the 2016 Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) and subsequent 2021 Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA). Power from the solar gardens is fed into the local grid and credited to customers through their existing utility bills with ComEd and Ameren. This new project model provides renewable volume above-and-beyond existing state programs. ENGIE is hopeful that in the future similar projects will bring economic benefit to under-resourced communities in Illinois while accelerating the state’s energy transition goals.

Construction of the two projects both in rural counties, will be led by ENGIE’s Chicago based team and is expected to commence later this year.


About the ENGIE Group

The ENGIE Group (made up of ENGIE S.A. and its subsidiaries and affiliates) is a global leader in low-carbon energy and services. With its 96,000 employees, its customers, partners and stakeholders, the Group is committed to accelerate the transition toward a carbon-neutral world, through reduced energy consumption and more environmentally-friendly solutions. Inspired by its purpose (“raison d’être”), ENGIE reconciles economic performance with a positive impact on people and the planet, building on its key businesses (gas, renewable energy, services) to offer competitive solutions to its customers. ENGIE S.A. (ENGI), is listed on the Paris and Brussels Stock Exchanges.
In North America, ENGIE companies have delivered integrated, innovative energy solutions to public and private organizations for nearly half a century. We employ approximately 3,000 people focused on enabling our customers to become more sustainable and achieve their decarbonization targets through expert project delivery and competitive solutions. For more information on ENGIE in North America, please visit our LinkedIn page or Twitter feed, https://www.engie-na.com/ and https://www.engie.com.

About Solstice

Solstice is dedicated to bringing affordable solar power to the 77% of Americans who cannot install a rooftop system. It connects residents and community organizations to nearby shared solar farms, creates financing innovations that expand access to underserved Americans (the EnergyScore), and provides frictionless subscriber management software for community solar projects. Solstice has partnered with municipalities, employers, and nonprofits across the country and won awards from the Department of Energy, Inc. Magazine, and Elle. Together with its partners, Solstice is building an equitable energy future for every American.

Media Contacts:
ENGIE North America: Michael Clingan, michael.clingan@external.engie.com
Solstice: mary@solstice.us