By Julianne Mosher
A new initiative has been passed at the elementary schools within the Comsewogue School District, giving the buildings new solar panel technology and plans to save the district thousands of dollars.
“I’m so excited. … It’s a good project for everyone,” said Susan Casali, assistant superintendent for business. “It’s a win-win for the environment, taxpayers and the district.”
The bidding process was a long one, and after much deliberation, Massachusetts-based energy company Noresco was selected in May 2017. The company then worked to complete a two-year energy efficiency upgrade project in the Clinton Avenue Elementary School that was finished this past month.
These upgrades, which included installing 477 kW of photovoltaic solar arrays on the roof of the elementary school, is expected to provide Comsewogue more than $1.9 million in energy savings over the next 18 years and will reduce carbon emissions equivalent to removing 435 cars from the road.
“It’s really cost saving, as well as being impactful to the environment,” Casali said. “It will pay itself off in six years.”
The production of the solar panels is estimated at 572,879 kWh during the first year, which is nearly two times the school’s annual consumption. During the 2016–2017 school year, energy use was 307,440 kWh.
Noresco’s project management, SUNation Solar Systems, installed the solar photovoltaic arrays on the roof of the 67,000-square-foot elementary school. The new energy source is expected to save the district approximately $90,000 a year in energy costs during the first year alone.
Right now, the excess power at Clinton will generate enough for Boyle Road Elementary School. “Since we’re a school district we can’t sell the power back to the plant, but we can reuse it for other buildings,” Casali said.
She said that the district is planning its next solar panel for Terryville Road Elementary School next summer.