An array of 671 solar panels mounted on the school roof is expected to save money and provide an educational opportunity for students, Rensselaer City School District officials said Monday.
Working with Monolith Solar Associates, the school district has embarked on a new, green way of reducing its electric bills.
“It was at no cost to our school district or our taxpayers,” Superintendent Sally Shields said.
Monolith installed a 200-kilowatt solar array atop the school. Monolith will sell the electricity produced by the panels to the district through a 20-year, power-purchase agreement at a reduced rate.
“This power won’t have to be produced at a power plant,” said Peter Fobare, Monolith’s director of business relations.
The district expects to save $160,000 over the life of the agreement.
“It’s always exciting to see the transformation going on in our energy area,” said U.S. Rep. Paul D. Tonko, D-Amsterdam. “It’s important to note that we’re encouraging thinking outside the barrel.”
A monitor hung in the school will show the power generated by the solar array and how it impacts the school, giving students a learning opportunity, Fobare said.
The visual display, Shields said. “This will open up an array of opportunities for them.”
Ed Bryden, who teaches pre-engineering and technology courses in grades 7 to 12, described the monitor as a “real motivator” for students. He described it as a good tool for classroom use.
In a release, Monolith said it’s working with 12 districts on solar energy projects. The firm has contracts to install 23,000 solar panels at 60 facilities.
Mark Fobare, president, CEO and co-founder of the company, said it is working with other Capital Region school districts, and the Albany, Scotia-Glenville and South Colonie districts are on track to have arrays installed.
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