West Not­ting­ham Academy to run com­pletely on so­lar power

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JES­SICA IAN­NETTA

jian­netta@ ce­cil­whig. com

— West Not­ting­ham Academy will soon run com­pletely on so­lar power thanks to the planned in­stal­la­tion of about 3,500 so­lar pan­els on the board­ing school’s prop­erty.

The school came be­fore the county plan­ning com­mis­sion ear­lier this month to get ap­proval for a spe­cial ex­cep­tion for a so­lar power gen­er­a­tion fa­cil­ity that would take up roughly four acres of un­used land

COLORA

on its prop­erty on Fire­tower Road in Colora. Be­cause the site is zoned North­ern Agri­cul­tural Res­i­den­tial, the school needed to get a spe­cial ex­cep­tion for the so­lar ar­ray, which it re­ceived, said Gary Huss, WNA busi­ness man­ager.

Con­struc­tion is ex­pected to start in Novem­ber, he added.

WNA will be part­ner­ing on the project with So­lar City, a San Ma­teo, Calif.based com­pany and one of the coun­try’s largest so­lar ar­ray builders. So­lar City will build and op­er­ate the 1,122.66- kilo­watt ar­ray, and the power gen­er­ated will be sold back to the school un­der a power pur­chase agree­ment.

“We think it will re­ally help the school,” Huss said. “We’re al­ways look­ing for ad­di­tional sources of rev­enue and this is one of them.”

The only cost to the school — other than the use of its land — is in­stalling a com­po­nent to con­nect to the Del­marva power grid, Huss said. Not only will the school get a re­bate on its elec­tric­ity bill, it will also get ad­di­tional rev­enue from the sale of the power it doesn’t use, he added.

Huss wasn’t sure what the ex­act sav­ings to the school would be, but said it would likely be sig­nif­i­cant, not­ing that WNA is al­lowed to pro­duce at most dou­ble the power it can use.

For So­lar City’s part, it re­ceives valu­able fed­eral tax cred­its and reaps the dif­fer­ence be­tween the ne­go­ti­ated and mar­ket rates on ex­cess elec­tric­ity sent back to the grid.

WNA de­cided to move for­ward with the so­lar ar­ray af­ter it was ap­proached by So­lar City and re­al­ized it could reap sig­nif­i­cant cost sav­ings through the ar­range­ment, Huss said. The county found the ar­range­ment sim­i­larly at­trac­tive and this week an­nounced it too had signed a PPA with So­lar City to build two ar­rays, one at the Ce­cil County Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing off Route 40 and an­other at the High­lands Spray Ir­ri­ga­tion Site lo­cated in the High­lands com­mu­nity near the north­ern Delaware bor­der.

Though WNA and the county are So­lar City’s first cus­tomers in the county, they’re not the only county or­ga­ni­za­tions em­brac­ing so­lar power. Ce­cil County Pub­lic Schools has three so­lar ar­rays and Mount Aviat Academy, the town of Elk­ton and IKEA all each have one ar­ray.

In June, Ce­cil Col­lege also started ne­go­ti­a­tions with San Fran­cisco-based NRG Re­new LLC to pur­chase so­lar power from a so­lar ar­ray that will even­tu­ally be built on the com­pany’s land in Vi­enna.

West Not­ting­ham Academy plans to in­stall 3,500 so­lar pan­els on this four-acre site on its prop­erty in Colora.

This photo shows what the so­lar pan­els at West Not­ting­ham Academy might look like once in­stalled.

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