Siemens and Two Southern Illinois School Districts Set Benchmark in Generating Solar Electricity 

October 28, 2020

  • 20-year solar power purchase agreements secured
  • More than 1,200 kilowatts of solar capacity among 5 arrays with 3,036 panels in total
  • School districts avoid more than $3 million in capital expenditures and additional ongoing energy savings through new roof coatings and solar arrays
  • The project will result in the mitigation of 1,393 metric tons of CO2 from the environment, comparable to the removal of 257 cars from the road annually 


Southern Illinois’ Harrisburg Community Unit and the Eldorado school districts and Siemens today announced they will bring more than 1,200 kilowatts of solar power online, powering five of the school districts’ facilities.  The projects are funded via 20-year solar power purchase agreements (PPAs), a partnership that allows the school districts to take advantage of lower cost, sustainable energy sources without upfront capital investment.


"Harrisburg Unit # 3 is happy to team up with Siemens in an effort to do our part to utilize renewable resources for our energy needs. We are very proud to provide our students with the educational benefit of this project as it ties to our curriculum,” said Michael Gauch, Superintendent of Harrisburg Community Unit School District. “Finally, we are very excited to show our community our commitment to a sustainable future for our students and families.”


"We are excited about our relationship with Siemens to provide solar energy to our school.  We are not only excited because of the money it will save taxpayers, but also because of the additional educational resources and learning it will provide to our students -- not to mention the numerous positive effects that it will have on our environment,” said Ryan Hobbs, Superintendent of Eldorado School District.


As part of the 20-year agreement, the school districts will lease their roof space and the ground on which the arrays are mounted to Siemens. Siemens finances, installs and maintains the solar arrays, guaranteeing a certain power production every year, which the school districts agree to purchase monthly. The financial vehicle of this partnership – a power purchase agreement (PPA), also known as the Energy as a Service business model – allows the schools to utilize available tax incentives that are offered to renewable energy projects.


Siemens is planning to deliver the projects through Calibrant Energy, a new joint venture of Siemens Smart Infrastructure, Siemens Financial Services and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group. The joint venture creates Energy as a Service solutions by simplifying the transition towards energy decarbonization with no up-front costs.


“PPAs are a great financial vehicle offered by state governments to support schools in their efforts in becoming more sustainable by using power from alternative energy sources," said John Kovach, Head of Energy Performance Services, Siemens Smart Infrastructure USA. “We are proud to support the Harrisburg and Eldorado school districts with our technology, expertise and knowhow on their paths in setting a benchmark for the school of the future.” 


To make certain that both school districts are maximizing energy production, the company utilized smart panel optimizer technology. The smart panels allow for visualizing of real-time production as well as alerting to any maintenance or production issues. Another goal was to assure that the design of the system sizes maximized the incentives available to the districts, without sending excess power back to the grid.


In conjunction with these projects, Siemens is establishing an educational partnership with the two school systems to teach the students and faculties about solar, alternative renewable energy sources, and sustainability concepts. with a long-term goal to add Siemens’ educational programs into the curriculum of the schools.


Harrisburg Community Unit School District

Siemens started the design and installation phase of the project in September 2019. Prior to the installation of 1,846 solar panels, a new energy efficient roof coating was applied to East Side and West Side, extending the economic life of the roof systems by 20 to 30 years. These coatings and solar arrays were financed without any capital cost to the district by utilizing the financial vehicle of the PPA. The new roofs of the primary and intermediate facilities alone resulted in more than $800k in capital cost savings to the district.


Siemens installed approximately 700 kW total among the three sites: two elementary schools, each with one roof-mounted array and a middle school with a ground-mounted array. At East Side Intermediate School, 79 percent of the total energy required will be powered by the sun.; at West Side School, 69 percent; and at Harrisburg Middle School, 15 percent. 


Eldorado School District

Siemens installed 1,190 solar panels, providing approximately 458 kW total among the two sites: Eldorado Elementary School, where solar will power 45 percent of total usage, and Eldorado Middle School, of which 89 percent will be powered by the sun.


Contact for journalists

Aynur Saltik

Phone: +1-312-560-3679; E-mail:


Siemens Smart Infrastructure (SI) is shaping the market for intelligent, adaptive infrastructure for today and the future. It addresses the pressing challenges of urbanization and climate change by connecting energy systems, buildings and industries. SI provides customers with a comprehensive end-to-end portfolio from a single source – with products, systems, solutions and services from the point of power generation all the way to consumption. With an increasingly digitalized ecosystem, it helps customers thrive and communities progress while contributing toward protecting the planet. SI creates environments that care. With around 72,000 employees worldwide, Siemens Smart Infrastructure has its global headquarters in Zug, Switzerland, and its U.S. corporate headquarters in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, USA.


Siemens Corporation is a U.S. subsidiary of Siemens AG, a global technology powerhouse that has stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality for more than 170 years. Active around the world, the company focuses on intelligent infrastructure for buildings and distributed energy systems and on automation and digitalization in the process and manufacturing industries. Siemens brings together the digital and physical worlds to benefit customers and society. Through Mobility, a leading supplier of intelligent mobility solutions for rail and road transport, Siemens is helping to shape the world market for passenger and freight services. Via its majority stake in the publicly listed company Siemens Healthineers, Siemens is also a world-leading supplier of medical technology and digital health services. In addition, Siemens holds a minority stake in Siemens Energy, a global leader in the transmission and generation of electrical power that has been listed on the stock exchange since September 28, 2020. In fiscal 2019, Siemens USA reported revenue of $26.5 billion and employs approximately 50,000 people throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico.


Calibrant Energy is a total energy partner that simplifies the transition toward energy decarbonization and decentralization. Calibrant Energy creates smart energy solutions for companies and institutions by integrating the latest energy technologies with adaptive financing. Calibrant Energy brings together global innovators in energy, Siemens’ Smart Infrastructure (SI) and Financial Services (SFS) groups and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, to deliver distributed energy solutions that help achieve commercial, sustainability and strategic goals. Calibrant Energy’s mission is to provide reliable, high-quality, and transformational energy solutions with end to end services. For more information, visit