The Triopia School District will undergo an assessment to determine if solar panels will be installed to provide electricity to the school.
The council approved a contract with Clean Energy Design Group to assess whether the district and the company would benefit from installing a solar farm.
Supervisor Adam Dean said the district will lease some land for the project, which will be located on an area of about one acre near the football field.
“They will do the engineering, it’s free for us,” Dean said. “We have to see that it’s good for us and good for them.”
According to the placement, the Dean said there may be some concerns about the establishment of the entire infrastructure to get electricity to the school.
“They need to see how it works,” Dean said. “If it’s going to be expensive to get energy from panels to school, investors may not see the value in it.”
If both the company and the board decide to continue the project, the panels will be installed and the costs will be borne by investors. The district will not be responsible for any of the initial costs.
Investors will get their money back by buying the energy they get from the school.
“If we wanted to spend a significant amount of money, we could do it ourselves,” Dean said. “Investors are taking the first blow.”
If approved, it is expected to be a 180-kilowatt project with a 20-year lifespan.
Once they start production, the district will pay for the energy produced.
“We are estimated to save $ 7,000-8,000 a year in energy costs,” Dean said.
Since the farm will be on one acre of the school’s FFA plot, the dean said that if they move forward, the FFA unit will normally plant and harvest this fall and then construction will begin.
The dean said that this was the next step in greening the district.
“We have a geothermal system and we like to be at the forefront of renewable energy,” Dean said. “Adding a solar area is another way to do that.”