CCSD trustees yet to move forward on pursuing solar energy

A Clark County School District that runs completely on solar energy is still only a dream.

The School Board on Thursday took no action to move forward in a process to pursue alternative energy services after hearing a presentation from NV Energy, which faces competition from a proposed solar project.

Trustees still expressed a desire to use solar power for cost savings, but noted a need for more information overall.

Capital Dynamics, Tenaska and Switch have proposed that the district switch to an independent solar project touted as a move that could save millions over two decades. The option would include a fixed rate over 25 years.

But in a presentation to the board, NV Energy highlighted its current commitment to solar power and various charitable efforts.

The company also cited $1.3 million in energy efficiency rebates paid to the district from 2014 to 2017, and 44 solar installations it helped bring to schools.

NV Energy has also issued a request for proposals that could add up to 330 megawatts of renewable energy from projects that would be built in Nevada, the company announced in January.

Pat Egan, senior vice president of customer operations, said the company understands it’s in a competitive place.

But along with trustees, he expressed reservations about the presentation from Capital Dynamics.

“We do not begrudge anyone, including you, taking a good hard look at what may be perceived as an option,” Egan said. “But I would also say that what I’ve seen in the presentation — an upfront payment, building of a new facility, and a number of things that may or may not add up — evaluating an energy proposal beyond a couple of years is a very difficult matter.”

Various community groups praised NV Energy as a great partner and local philanthropist.

Alyson McCarthy, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Las Vegas, said the company has been a friend with a relationship built on trust.

With the company’s support, the charity was able to build its own solar project to offset costs, she said.

“I think in this day and age more than ever, who you do business with is so important,” McCarthy said. “… Knowing that the person is going to be there in good times and bad times, and that they are someone you can rely on, molds the very fabric of what we look for in our partners. I think it’s the very fabric we should all look for.”

But other community members still pushed the board to consider solar options.

Deja Garza submitted more than 50 letters she collected from small businesses that support clean energy and lower rates.

“I feel our school should be able to generate clean energy for the health of our kids and our community,” she said.

Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at or 702-383-4630. Follow @AmeliaPakHarvey on Twitter.

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