From the Superintendent's desk...
From the Superintendent’s Desk
A recent decision by our Board of Education will pay dividends to our school for many years to come. Our Board voted to enter a lease agreement with a company called Brightergy. Brightergy’s work has them placing solar panels on schools and businesses throughout our state.
The agreement allows Brightergy to take advantage of applicable federal incentives for the purchase of the solar equipment. Because of those federal incentives and the fact that the equipment will be owned by Brightergy, there are no out-of-pocket expenses to the district. Brightergy is responsible for the purchase, insurance, install, and maintenance of the solar equipment for the entire 20 years of the lease agreement.
Brightergy will be installing five 25 KW solar systems in our district. Two of the systems will be at the Elementary School, one will be at the Primary building, and two will be at the High School. Mechanical engineers have been to each of the buildings to inspect the roofs and make sure they are capable of holding a system without problems. The construction of the units and installation is set to begin shortly after the first of the year with the projected date for the systems to be “energized” set somewhere in mid to late March.
The lease payment of $190 per month per system stays steady throughout the 20 years of the lease. So…$190 x 5 units x 12 months = $11,400 per year that our district has committed to pay Brightergy. The dollar value of the electricity produced by the five systems is projected to be about $19,500 per year. This projection is based on our current electricity costs. If the cost of electricity rises over the years then the dollar value of the electricity being generated on our roofs will increase. The anticipated annual electrical offset by the solar units is 13% of our current electricity use.
In addition to the financial benefits of this agreement, there is educational value. As a part of their work with school districts Brightergy has developed a number of lesson plans that teach about renewable energy sources and their use. A monitor will be placed in the hallway of each building whereby students, staff, and visitors will be able to read the actual real-time electrical production of each unit. Students will have the opportunity to incorporate this information into their lessons. I can envision many excellent applications in the math and science classrooms, and I am sure that people more creative than me will develop many other relevant lessons from the information.
This is a great opportunity for our students to learn, our district to save money, and for our schools to consume fewer of our natural resources in their operation. If you have questions about the project feel free to give me a call.