Solar firm makes second pitch to school district
The company Solar City is making another pitch for the Kingston school district install solar energy panels as a way to bring down electricity costs.
The proposal to the Board of Education at a meeting last week was the company’s second in the last year. Solar City Project Development Manager Nick Walsh said a November 2015 proposal was dropped because of space limitations.
“The problem last time ... was concentrating on the buildings themselves and putting solar on the roofs of the buildings,” he said. “It was determined that may not be the best course of action in that some of the buildings are a little older or the roofs were a little bit older, and just from a structural standpoint [it] didn’t make a lot of sense.”
Walsh said the company now is reviewing undisclosed properties that could be used for solar panel arrays that would put electricity into the grid and credit the school district against the amount of energy it uses.
“We could use what is ... called ‘remote net metering,’ where we’ll actually get land in the district, it doesn’t have to be school property, put the solar [panels] on that land, and then the meter that is running with that solar system will calculate all the kilowatt hours that are being pushed out into the grid,” he said.
“In an ideal scenario, we’ve got a lease on land for 10 to 15 acres,” Walsh said. “Right now, we’re talking to a number of different interested landowners.”
Walsh said the project could produce 3 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year.
“You’re currently using about 8,670,000 kilowatt hours,” he told the school board, meaning the solar energy production would equal about 35 percent of the district’s power usage.
Regarding cost, “we have projections that ... the district’s going to save about $30,635 in year one with an 18-year savings of $627,000,” Walsh said.
If the district approves the agreement, it would be able to either purchase the equipment at the end of the deal or ask that it be removed.
“Solar City pays to put all the equipment in, we’re investing all the money, and... we own the system,” Walsh said. “There’s no upfront cost to the district.”