Thousands of solar panels have been installed at Hubbard Middle School in Plainfield, N.J., as the city's school district aims to save money on electric bills.
The Bridgewater Courier News reports that the Plainfield district expects to save millions of dollars over the next 15 years because of the panels installed at seven of its 13 schools. The project is funded through a power purchase agreement with Spano Partners Holdings, LLC, which will be solely responsible for the project at no cost to the district.
Contractors began installing the more than 5,000 solar panels at Hubbard in September and are working at Plainfield High School, Emerson and Cedarbrook schools.
Installation of the rooftop photovoltaic panels at all seven schools is expected to be completed by Dec. 31..
“For years it was difficult to convince people this could work,” says Sean Sutton, the district's facilities and grounds coordinator. “But we are very excited this is happening. It’s a win-win situation that will allow us to save energy and devote funds to other projects.”
The first year the district will save around $80,000; over 15 years, the energy savings will amount to almost $2.5 million in energy bills over the next 15 years.
"Being an underfunded district, we are constantly looking for ways to cut back on spending," says Richard Wyatt, school board president. "This has created a multifaceted opportunity for the district."
A 46-inch LCD flat screen will be mounted on a wall at each school that will display information about the solar power system for the students and general public.
"Learning about this system will be continuous, which is an incredible prospect for our students," he said. "We thank our board of education for their vision and support.”
Grade-appropriate activities stemming from the displays will provide students information on solar technology and the clean energy industry.
The installation at Hubbard consists of 5,975 solar panels and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 1,893 metric tons of carbon per year.
All of the energy generated from the solar panels will go to offset Plainfield’s electricity usage.