100% Solar Powered Millbrook School – Millbrook, New York

EcoMotion has served as Millbrook School’s carbon neutrality adviser, developing a plan to cut emissions to zero over time. The first phase resulted in the completion of a 1.735 MW solar system that now powers the School’s entire annual electricity use. After winning a $1.25 million incentive from the State of New York, EcoMotion helped the school secure a fixed 7.5 cent per kilowatt-hour price for the solar, with a zero percent escalator for 20 years, and Millbrook retains and can retire the RECs.

EcoMotion’s role in the process was sequential. We began fielding a call from a passionate faculty member. She’d received several cold call quotes for solar, and wanted help. But back up, school leadership would have to be brought on board. After several presentations, EcoMotion was brought on board by the school to represent it in solar exploration, and if favorable, its negotiation.

EcoMotion developed and released an RFP to qualified solar installation firms seeking cash and PPA pricing. We developed the Benefactor Investment Model assuming that we would need “friendly” capital to finance the system given that region of New York’s very low power rates. And then, after receiving a NYSERDA grant for $1.25 million, we were able to get the highly favorable PPA rate.

EcoMotion continued to serve as project manager throughout the construction period, addressing concerns and ongoing issues. There was a glitch: The interconnection study determine that there was a low power factor already in that part of the distribution network, and that we would not be able to interconnect without $580,000 dollars of cost. We’d allocated $250,000, hoping it would be much lower. Ultimately we were able to decrease the power factor on the solar system – resulting in 5% less kWh output – and to thus interconnect at a cost under the original placeholder. The eight-acre system is now operating as planned, providing 100% of the School’s power