Fresno Unified School District and ForeFront Power Complete a 17.5 MW Solar Energy and Storage Portfolio

The portfolio is one of the largest solar energy and storage portfolios on a K-12 school district property in California

Fresno Unified Solar Energy Storage PortfolioRibbon Cutting

FRESNO, Calif. – Mar. 13, 2024 – Fresno Unified School District today celebrated the completion of a 17.5 MW districtwide solar energy and storage portfolio with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Hoover High School. Developed in partnership with ForeFront Power, a leading developer and asset manager of commercial and industrial-scale solar energy and storage projects, the Fresno Unified solar portfolio is expected to save the District over $40 million throughout the 20-year lifespan of the system.

Now completed, the Fresno Unified portfolio includes 40 different projects with solar canopies and energy storage systems across 31 district sites, representing one of the largest K-12 solar and battery storage portfolios in California. The labor used on the projects in the Fresno USD portfolio came from contracting services based out of the Fresno region, creating 56 new local jobs in the process.

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.

“This solar energy and battery storage portfolio demonstrates our district’s dedication to building a more resilient future for our students and the communities we serve,” said Fresno Unified Superintendent Bob Nelson. “By upgrading our campuses with innovative, clean energy solutions, we’re unlocking new cost savings that can be redirected back into the classroom, to enhance the quality of learning for our students.”

Through its partnership with ForeFront Power, the District 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 customizable renewable energy curriculum support that enhances STEM education programs for Fresno Unified students.

“ForeFront Power takes care of every aspect of solar energy solutions for our partner school districts like Fresno Unified,” said Nate Smith-Ide, Senior Sales Manager at ForeFront Power. “We want to give public school districts an alternative to expensive, unpredictable energy expenditures with guaranteed performance and low costs from renewable energy solutions.”

ForeFront Power implemented smart battery storage systems that complement the District’s solar canopies, kicking in during moments of maximum electricity usage to minimize the impact of peak charges from the utility. The result is electricity costs that are lower than with a solar project alone. 

Fresno Unified selected ForeFront Power via the Renewable Energy Aggregated Procurement (REAP) Program offered by SPURR. SPURR, a Joint Powers Authority of hundreds of public education agencies, uses competitive solicitations, aggregated buying power, and technical expertise to obtain excellent pricing and terms for utilities-related goods and services. The REAP Program allows any California public agency to obtain the best solar and energy storage pricing and terms from a competitive statewide solicitation. Over 50 California public agencies have used REAP to develop hundreds of megawatts of solar and storage projects to date.

About Fresno Unified School District

Fresno Unified School District serves over 73,000 students, from preschool through grade 12, helping students achieve their greatest potential through high-quality instruction, district programs and services, and resources. The district is the third largest in California.

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.

Press Contacts 

James Cortese 
Gryphon Agency for ForeFront Power