District 51 board adopts solar project agreement

District 51 School Board members voted Tuesday to adopt a subscription agreement for a solar energy project in Pear Park, with a few caveats.

The district agreed last summer to sign a site agreement with San Francisco-based solar project developer Ecoplexus to allow the company to build a solar array on district property at 2930 D 1/4 Road. The agreement was dependent on the school district signing up for 40 percent of a subscription agreement for energy produced by the solar array, with the subscription amount to be paid through Xcel solar energy credits.

The district delayed adoption of a subscription agreement numerous times this winter. In January, Ecoplexus project developer Bill Brick told board members the project would face a dead end if Ecoplexus did not provide a $400,000 down payment to Xcel for the project, something Brick said the company may not have confidence to do without assurance from the school district that they wanted to proceed with a subscription. That caused some confusion for board members who weren’t sure why Ecoplexus then proceeded with the down payment even after the board refrained from making a decision.

School board members also were confused when they discovered Ecoplexus planned to sign documents under the Colorado limited liability company name Fresh Air Energy VIII, then turn the LLC over to an as-yet-unknown investor or investors. Evolving information left school board member Tom Parrish feeling like he was part of a “shell game,” he said.

“I don’t think we understood clearly who you were, more of a speculator than an operator,” Parrish said.

Board member Ann Tisue proposed an amendment to a board resolution for the subscription agreement between the district and Fresh Air that would allow the district to approve of whoever the future investor may be and to keep Ecoplexus liable in the agreement until commercial operation of the solar array begins. The board voted 4-1 to adopt the amended resolution, with board member John Williams dissenting. Williams said he would prefer to adopt the resolution at a later date or adopt it as written and return to the negotiating table once an investor is located.


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