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RPS Awarded Innovative Grant and Partnership to Fund Solar Panels in Schools

Richmond, Va. – As the new school year begins, Richmond Public Schools is making moves
toward a bright year and an even brighter future thanks to a generous grant from the
Community Foundation and a partnership with innovative clean energy company Secure
Futures Solar. RVA Solar Fund, a component fund of the Community Foundation for a greater
Richmond, recently committed the $100,000 award to support a new Sustainability Associate
position for RPS, as well as the purchase and installation of energy monitoring systems at
selected school sites.

“Achieving excellence means that we must take a long-term approach, collaborate with
community partners, and innovate,” said Jason Kamras, RPS Superintendent. “This power
purchase agreement, and the generous supporting grant, will help us do all three, while also
providing engaging opportunities for teaching and learning with clean energy technology.”

The energy information and control systems will connect with solar panels to be installed in
2019 by Staunton-based Secure Futures with no upfront capital costs to RPS. Under a 20-year
power purchase agreement, the company will own and operate the solar arrays on several
campuses with a total capacity of 2.59 megawatts, selling 100% of the solar power produced to
the school division at a savings.

“We are always interested in connecting donors to organizations and causes that inspire them
to give,” said Lisa O'Mara, Community Foundation Vice-President of Donor Engagement. “In
this case, we were able to convene donors who expressed interest in growing the
understanding and use of solar energy in our region. By exploring the possibilities together and
pooling their charitable dollars, their impact will be greater. I know that the donors are excited
that their grant will help the school system realize sustainable energy savings and bring
additional educational opportunities to students at RPS.”

This initial venture into solar arrays could create more opportunities for clean energy throughout
RPS moving forward.

“Our board is committed to upgrading and modernizing our school buildings as outlined in the
Facilities Plan,” said Chairman Dawn Page, District 8 School Board representative. “This project
will allow us to integrate solar power at some of our schools and study its impact. With a
significant number of RPS construction projects on the horizon, this could potentially pave the
way for a much more energy efficient and modern RPS facility portfolio, at a long-term savings
to the city’s taxpayers.”

 

District 1 school board representative, Liz Doerr, who wrote the grant is eager to witness the
cost and energy savings that are anticipated from this partnership.

“I am so excited that the School Board voted unanimously to move forward with the
RVA Solar Fund and a plan to put solar panels on select Richmond Public Schools, saving the
district approximately $2M in energy costs over the next 20 years,” said Doerr. “This is a win-
win-win: we save money, we obtain fantastic curriculum and hands-on teaching opportunities in
green jobs, and we reduce carbon emissions.”


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About the Community Foundation
The Community Foundation is a leading partner and advocate for philanthropy and community betterment in
Richmond, Virginia and the surrounding region. In 2017, the Foundation managed over 1,000 charitable funds
established by local donors and distributed $88 million in grants to a variety of causes. Through steady growth,
innovative programs and focused services, the Foundation has become the largest community foundation in Virginia,
the third largest in the Southeast and one of the preeminent such foundations in the country.   Visit the Community
Foundation website here: https://www.cfrichmond.org/. Visit the RVA Solar Fund website here:
www.rvasolarfund.org.


About Secure Futures Solar
As a market and policy leader, Secure Futures builds, owns, manages and funds affordable US
made Resilient Solar Solutions® for public purpose entities.   Headquartered in Staunton, Va., the Company
combines state-of–the-art solartechnology with an innovative business model to make commercial scale solar readily
affordable in Virginia, helping customers to realize the economic, environmental, and community benefits
of solar energy. In 2017, Secure Futures became a Certified B Corporation®, having met the exacting standards for
social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability established by the nonprofit B Lab®.