ForeFront Power Tracy USD NAFA 2024
Henry Gentle, Fleet Electrification Sales Associate at ForeFront Power; Jaime Quintana, Director of Facilities, Planning & Construction, at Tracy Unified School District; and Sam Zantzinger, Senior Origination Manager at ForeFront Power, speaking at the 2024 NAFA Institute & Expo (Credit: David Keith Photography)

Policy, technology, and supply chain advancements are making the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) more attainable than ever for California schools. To offer a glimpse into the electrification process and how it pairs with solar energy and battery storage, ForeFront Power and Tracy Unified School District (USD) traveled to San Antonio, Tex., to present at the NAFA Institute & Expo 2024.

ForeFront Power’s Senior Origination Manager, Sam Zantzinger, and its Sales Associate of Fleet Electrification, Henry Gentle, joined Tracy USD’s Director of Facilities, Planning & Construction, Jamie Quintana, on the NAFA stage for their panel session, “Charging Ahead: Powering California School Transportation with Fleet Electrification.” Together they examined the fleet electrification landscape for California public school districts and shared procurement pathways and potential benefits applicable to any school district looking to electrify.

Tracy USD originally sought to develop a solar energy and storage portfolio in order to save on utility costs, but then wanted to also provide EV charging services throughout the District and establish the necessary EV infrastructure for fleet electrification. The District partnered with ForeFront Power to develop a 5.3 megawatt-DC-distributed solar energy portfolio with solar canopies equipped with public EV chargers for a total of 60 EV chargers districtwide to benefit the local Tracy community.

“When you think about how developing solar projects adds clean energy to your campus, why not incorporate EV infrastructure with it?” said Jaime on choosing to pair solar energy with EV capabilities. “It makes complete sense, not just monetarily, but also as a way to become more energy resilient.”

The award-winning Tracy USD solar energy and storage portfolio is projected to save the District $20 million in electricity savings over the next 20 years and generate over 8.5 million kilowatt-hours of clean electricity annually?, offsetting 7,000 tons of carbon emissions each year.

Throughout the panel session, Jaime shared more of his firsthand experience partnering with ForeFront Power to procure Tracy USD’s renewable energy assets, while Sam and Henry described how other public agencies could take their own EV infrastructure projects from conception to operation.


“The exciting part about planning for these projects right now is all of the available money out there, and the fact that so many of these programs are stackable,” said Henry when discussing potential incentive structures. “When you build an infrastructure project, you might be able to receive a tax incentive at the same time, and then combine that with a local grant or a utility make-ready program.”

“No matter where you are in the States, there’s a variety of different procurement tools public agencies have access to,” added Sam when describing how cooperative purchasing or piggyback procurement vehicles like SPURR and TIPS could significantly reduce project timelines. “With all the time you put in to conceptualize the project and get your team assembled, finding a way to accelerate deployment is going to save you both time and money.”

Jaime concluded the panel session by recapping Tracy USD’s electrification progress thus far and pointing to the District’s future electrification plans.

“By taking advantage of procurement with SPURR, we not only completed our solar energy and storage portfolio within the timeline we set, but also completed our EV chargers. For our next phase, we’re planning to electrify our bus fleets, as well as our general maintenance fleet by tapping into local incentives and grants. The tools are there, so the question is, why not electrify?”

To learn more about the Tracy USD Solar Energy Storage Portfolio, winner of the 2024 Environment + Energy Leader Top Project of the Year Award, check out our Tracy USD case study.