Knox County, Tenn., officials and Ameresco Inc. (NYSE: AMRC) announced Nov. 17 the completion of a $12.45 million Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC).
In the spring of 2015, Ameresco was selected by Knox County to install more than 5 MW of solar photovoltaic systems on the rooftops of 11 schools plus the Knox County Central Building, and ground-mount solar arrays at the Detention and Juvenile Justice Facilities. The project, recently completed, is expected to provide more than $29 million in energy savings to the county, as well as generating an aggregate approximately $14 million in positive bottom-line cash flow for the county over the next 30 years.
“Now that our solar installations are complete, we can begin to reap the benefits of our renewable energy project that will pay for itself, help to reduce our utility costs and support our community for years to come,” said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. “This is a fiscally responsible energy solution that helps the environment, saves taxpayer dollars and provides a great learning tool for our students.”
Ameresco and Knox County worked closely to determine the optimal financial structure, to develop the Qualified Energy Conservation Bond (QECB) application, and to finalize the technical solution. As part of project design and implementation services, Ameresco provided all turnkey services to ensure the project was implemented safely, efficiently and in a manner to meet all local power company and utility regulatory and interconnection requirements.
Said Louis P. Maltezos, Executive Vice President, Ameresco: “With this award-winning 5.3 MW solar project in the state of Tennessee, Knox County’s leadership and staff have inspired innovative renewable solutions while also generating a source of significant annual income and creating local jobs.”
Construction on the project began in August 2015. Local labor was utilized wherever possible, creating approximately 100 local jobs during the construction period. Knox County will retain all rights to the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs).
The locations of the solar arrays include: AL Lotts Elementary School, Amherst Elementary School, Bearden Middle School, Central High School, Hardin Valley Academy, Karns High School, L&N STEM Academy, Powell Middle School, South Doyle Middle School, West High School, and the West Valley Middle School; as well as at the Detention Center, Juvenile Justice Facility, and the Knox County Central Building.
Knox County has a total area of 526 square miles, of which 508 square miles is land and 17 square miles is water. With a population of 432,226, it is the third-most populous county in Tennessee. Its county seat is Knoxville, the third-most populous city in Tennessee.
Founded in 2000, Ameresco is a leading independent provider of comprehensive services, energy efficiency, infrastructure upgrades, asset sustainability and renewable energy solutions for businesses and organizations throughout North America and Europe.With its corporate headquarters in Framingham, Mass., Ameresco has more than 1,000 employees providing local expertise in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.