Pflugerville ISD board approves solar panel lease agreement

The Pflugerville ISD board of trustees authorized the district on Jan. 17 to enter into a lease agreement for solar panels at 11 district locations.

According to estimates provided by district officials, the solar panels could net the district more than $2.7 million in total savings during their 30-year life expectancy through lowered utility bills and a solar power buyback program offered by Austin Energy at the 11 district buildings serviced by the company.

"There is an awful lot of upsides to doing this," PISD Chief Financial Officer Ken Adix said. "With an opportunity like this, I think it makes all the sense in the world.

"From a logic perspective, if we do the panels, we stand to net $2.7 million over 30 years. If we do nothing, we stand to pay out $6.5 million [in utility payments]."

Adix said the panels could end up producing 10 percent of the district's total electricity need.

The deal will entail PISD leasing the panels from solar panel manufacturer Gridpoint for 10 years at a cost of $630,000 annually and then purchasing the panels outright in the 11th year for $185,020. During the first 10 years of the lease, the district expects to net more than $4.4 million in electricity buybacks from Austin Energy.

"[This program] will save the district money and helps to continue setting [PISD] apart as a really forward-thinking district," PISD Superintendent Charles Dupre said.