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Solar panels to brighten Scotia-Glenville’s ledgers

School sun array to save nearly $1M over 20 years

Sunday, November 10, 2013
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— Scotia-Glenville schools are set to save nearly $1 million over the next two decades after a recent decision by the school board to install solar panels on the district’s six buildings and bus garage.

The district will be the first in Schenectady County to make the move to solar and soon will be one of a handful in the Capital Region to harness the power of the sun. The Board of Education approved a proposal Oct. 21 to install solar panels from Monolith Solar, a Rensselaer company.

“We have a lot of roof space in the school district,” said Superintendent Susan Swartz in a news release. “Why not cover them with something that will save our taxpayers money? We are doing this because it makes a lot of sense, from a fiscal and environmental point of view.”

Monolith Solar will own and operate the panels. The school district will lease them and purchase any and all solar energy the panels produce as a result. School officials estimate the move will save about $43,000 in electricity costs each year and nearly $920,000 over the next 20 years.

The most savings will come at the high school, where the district hopes to install panels above the auditorium and the new gymnasium. This would produce 207,747 kilowatt hours of energy in the first year, offsetting about $5,684 in utility costs that year and $147,080 over the next two decades.

Each panel will come with a meter the district can monitor online. A National Grid conversion system will allow the utility company to measure how much energy is being produced by the solar panels and how much is being provided by the power grid.

At the middle school on Prestige Parkway, panels would be installed above the auditorium, gymnasium and second-floor classrooms near the library. These would produce 206,764 kilowatt hours of energy in the first year, offsetting about $5,657 in utility costs that year and $146,384 over 20 years.

Each of the district’s four elementary schools would get panels, too. Glendaal Elementary School would get panels above the gym, lobby and primary wing. They would produce 196,185 kilowatt hours of energy in the first year, offsetting about $5,368 the first year and $138,894 over time.

Glen-Worden Elementary School would get panels above the gym, main office, cafeteria, lobby and primary wing to produce an annual 186,387 kilowatt hours of energy. In the first year, this would save $4,701. Over 20 years, it would save $121,649.

At Lincoln Elementary School, panels would be installed above the gym, cafeteria hallways, main office, library, primary and secondary wings. They would produce 156,856 kilowatt hours of energy in the first year, saving the district an estimated $4,291 in utility costs in the first year and an eventual $111,050.

Sacandaga Elementary School would get panels above its gym, cafeteria, hallways, the wing facing Wren Street and classrooms in the kindergarten wing. They would produce 206,570 kilowatt hours of energy in the first year, saving about $5,652 that year and an eventual $146,247 over 20 years.

The bus garage is also set to get panels across its entire roof. They would produce 49,738 kilowatt hours of energy in the first year, offsetting about $1,361 in utility costs that year and an eventual $35,213 over 20 years.

Monolith Solar will also seek grant funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to pay for part of the installation. The state sets aside about $4.8 million per month to encourage such solar installations and has an open enrollment program that provides funding for both residential and nonresidential systems.

 
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