Tracy USD and Fresno USD solar energy portfolios were awarded “Top Project of the Year” in Energy Innovation in the 2024 E+E Leader Awards program


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Apr. 22, 2024 – In a significant achievement, ForeFront Power, renowned for its development of commercial and industrial (C&I) solar energy and battery storage projects in the U.S. and Mexico, proudly announces that two of its projects, the Tracy Unified School District (USD) Solar Energy Portfolio and the Fresno Unified School District (USD) Solar Energy Portfolio, have been distinguished with a coveted “Top Project of the Year” Award in the Environment+Energy Leader Awards program. This year marks a milestone as the program divides accolades into six innovative categories, tailoring recognition to specific sustainability and energy management excellence sectors.

Award-Winning Innovation

Both the Tracy USD and Fresno USD districtwide solar energy portfolios were recognized for their exceptional contributions in energy innovation, setting benchmarks for innovation and sustainability in the “Top Project of the Year” category. This recognition underscores ForeFront Power ’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of environmental and energy management for its customers.

About the Tracy USD Solar Energy Portfolio

ForeFront Power partnered with Tracy USD to develop a 5.3 megawatt-DC (MW DC) distributed solar energy portfolio, comprising multiple solar parking canopies across 18 district sites. Many of the solar canopies were equipped with public EV chargers for a total of 60 EV chargers installed districtwide to benefit the local community. Generating 8,525,800 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, the solar energy portfolio helps the district avoid emitting nearly 7,000 tons of atmospheric CO2 per year.

Under the terms of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with ForeFront Power, Tracy USD achieves a fixed, below-market rate for electricity as well as budget certainty by avoiding utility rate increases for decades to come. The District is projected to save at least an estimated $20M million on electricity costs over the 20-year lifespan of the system. These funds can now be directed to additional educational resources for students.

Through its partnership with ForeFront Power, Tracy USD has access to a real-time performance monitoring platform, allowing District officials to create reports and visualize related environmental offsets and savings.  The partnership also includes a renewable energy curriculum – a new “Solar 101” unit in classrooms across the District. The unit enhances existing energy, environment, and sustainability elements of Tracy USD’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) education for students.

One judge said of the Tracy USD solar energy portfolio: “Installing solar and battery storage with EV charging capabilities has the potential to reduce utility spend as well as carbon emissions drastically. In this specific case, the project will also have an outsized impact on the community.”

About the Fresno USD Solar Energy Portfolio

ForeFront Power partnered with Fresno USD to develop a 17.5 megawatt-DC (MW DC) districtwide solar energy and storage portfolio – one of the largest solar energy and storage portfolios on a K-12 school district property in California. Fresno USD’s portfolio includes multiple solar canopies and solar energy storage systems across 31 sites districtwide, as well as two adjacent property sites that receive the energy savings through an aggregate meter.

The 17.5 MW solar portfolio will generate 23.5 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean, renewable electricity. This energy output is enough to power the annual electricity usage of over 3,000 nearby homes and will help the District offset over 18,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually, which is roughly equivalent to taking 3,600 cars off the road each year.

The District is projected to save over $40M million on electricity costs over the 20-year lifespan of the system. These energy savings translate to new funding possibilities for them such as providing scholarship opportunities, career advancement programs, and STEM education including a new curriculum based on the solar projects.

One judge said of the Fresno USD solar energy portfolio: “This project has real quantified benefits and operates in a disadvantaged community, where impacts such as better air quality become amplified. The savings the school district receives are real and allow for the redistribution of costs to more student-directed activities that will nurture and grow the quality of education and the collective capabilities of the community.”

A Testament to Excellence

The distinction of the Tracy USD and Fresno USD Solar Energy Portfolios by Environment+Energy Leader signifies a remarkable achievement in the field. Jessica Hunt, Co-President of E+E Leader, expresses her admiration for this year’s winners: “The introduction of six distinct categories in this year’s awards program not only celebrates the breadth of innovation within the industry but also highlights the specific areas where companies are truly making an impact. A win is a testament to these companies’ outstanding efforts and leadership in driving forward the sustainability agenda.”

About ForeFront Power

ForeFront Power is a leading developer of community solar and commercial- and industrial-scale (C&I) solar energy and battery storage projects in the U.S. and Mexico, also offering vehicle fleet electrification services. Over 15 years of working together, the ForeFront Power team has developed more than 1,500 behind-the-meter and community solar projects, totaling more than 1.1 gigawatt-DC of renewable electricity. ForeFront Power serves business, government, education, healthcare and community solar customers with a broad array of development, asset management and advisory services from its San Francisco headquarters and via teams based in New York, Mexico City, and across the U.S. through a hybrid work model.

About Tracy USD

Tracy Unified School District is the largest of three school districts serving the city of Tracy in San Joaquin County, consisting of three comprehensive high schools, two alternative education high schools, one community school, two middle schools, four K-8 schools and seven K-5 elementary schools. The District has 20 campus sites containing over 2 million square feet, which provide learning environments to over 13,500 students, and office and classroom space to approximately 1,740 employees.

About Fresno USD

Fresno Unified School District serves more than 74,000 students, from preschool through grade 12, preparing career ready graduates through high-quality instruction, district programs and services, and resources.

About the Environment + Energy Leader Awards

For well over a decade now, the Environment+Energy Leader Awards program has celebrated the exceptional advancements made in the realms of environmental, sustainability, and energy management. The awards recognize those who contribute and set new standards in the industry, setting a high standard for others to follow. Winners of the awards are seen as Leaders in environmental initiatives and energy management, with their achievements serving as benchmarks for excellence across the globe.