Solar, Utility Integration

PV Roofs to Power San Diego City Schools

Roofing that generates solar electricity will soon cover California schools in San Diego for an innovative project organized by Solar Integrated Technologies and GE Commercial Finance Energy Financial Services.

City schools in the San Diego area will be the first to benefit from the project, and GE and Solar Integrated estimate the systems will save millions in roofing and energy costs for all schools over the next 20 years. A total of 14 San Diego schools should have the new solar roofing systems installed and operational in the next few weeks. Additional installations will go up over the next two years. Solar Integrated Technologies was founded by two entrepreneurs with extensive backgrounds in commercial roofing. They developed the company’s proprietary photovoltaic roofing systems, which not only keep the elements out of buildings but also generate renewable solar electricity. A lightweight single-ply roofing membrane is embedded with flexible, photovoltaic cells and then rolled onto a building’s existing roof. Typical solar roof installations produce hundreds of kilowatts of power, which can be fed directly into the building’s electric system or sold to a utility and fed into the electric grid. After an initial investment of approximately $17 million for the project, GE Commercial Finance has the right of first refusal on up to $500 million to fund existing and prospective solar roofing projects as they come from Solar Integrated. The transactions help California with renewable portfolio standards, which require the state to meet mandatory generation goals of 20 percent of the state’s electricity use supplied by renewable sources by 2017. “Our relationship with GE Commercial Finance Energy Financial Services is groundbreaking in the solar energy sector. It will help accelerate our global penetration of the $20 billion-plus industrial roofing market here and abroad,” said Jon Slangerup, Solar Integrated’s CEO. “This exciting collaboration results, in large part, from tremendous synergies between our two companies.” GE Commercial Finance Energy Financial Services sees solar and renewable energy as organic growth markets. GE stated it will draw on its extensive process management experience, and make its “At the Customer, For the Customer” (ACFC) program available to Solar Integrated. “Everybody wins with this transaction. Solar Integrated serves its customers better. San Diego schools get new roofs and cleaner energy. A distressed community in South Los Angeles sees more manufacturing jobs. And GE expands, serving an even wider spectrum of the energy market,” said Daniel Gross, senior vice president of Renewable Energy at Energy Financial Services.