District 202 looks into owning solar arrays

The District 202 Board of Education continues to explore solar energy as a means for cost savings.

Superintendent Steve Wilder said conversations originally were focused on entering into a power-purchase agreement with a third party who would build solar panels on school grounds with the district paying the company for the electricity used.

Wilder said after board discussions Monday night the district instead is opting to own the panels themselves which would allow them to see higher savings.

“There’s some more responsibility that comes with that, maintaining the solar array once they’re built,” Wilder tells WGIL. “They’re ours and we take care of them. Although school district’s don’t necessarily focus that sort of thing it would allow us to save some additional dollars quickly. So that’s something we’re going to pursue.”

To help create more space for solar panels, he said the board discussed having artificial turf installed on the football field.

“That would allow us to use the field year-round for practices for the football team, for games. The field is actually big enough to play a soccer match if we ever had a soccer team in the future. So, it would provide that. But also, space for the marching band, the PE classes… could be used all the time. Don’t need to worry about maintanence or anything like that. ”

The additional space used for practices for the different student groups could then be used as space for the solar project.

Wilder adds that they’re now in the process of creating a request for proposals designing the solar array which will help administration figure out a cost for the project as well as the savings from it.

He tells WGIL that the board will be holding a town hall meeting on Tuesday, November 5th, where he expects this will be part of the discussion.

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