The Elizabethtown Area School District recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony on for its newly installed solar field. The solar field, located between the Bear Creek School and East High Street, is part of a comprehensive approach by the district to improve efficiencies and repurpose operational expenses toward our educational programs. In total, about 40 community members and representatives from the school district attended the ceremony.
As part of the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act of 2016, the District partnered with McClure Company in 2017 to become more energy efficient. Updates to light fixtures, HVAC settings, and the buildings themselves have been underway for the past 18 months and will generate approximately $4 million in energy savings over the next 20 years. In addition, the school directors approved the installation of the solar field under the GESA, which will bring in an additional $2 million in energy savings during the same time period.
The 500 kW solar field consists of 2,000 panels and has a 40 year life expectancy. It will generate 640,000 kW of energy per year or enough to power 59 homes and travel 1.9 million miles with an electric car.
Taking part in the ceremony from the Elizabethtown Area School District were Dr. Michele Balliet, superintendent of schools; Terry Seiders, school board president; Adam Bergens, director of buildings and grounds; and a slew of students, faculty members, and administrators from the Bear Creek School. Shayne Homan, vice president of energy services for McClure Company, presented the solar filed to the school district at the ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 24.
“While we are extremely proud to be reducing our carbon footprint through this comprehensive approach to energy, our investment is more than just harvesting the sun for solar power or switching out various mechanisms,” Balliet said. “Equally as important are the tens of thousands of dollars in energy cost savings a year that will allow us to continue preserving the programs and services that are most important to us.”
In addition to providing the district with an energy opportunity to generate significant energy savings, the solar field will provide students with great learning opportunities and help show them the importance of renewable energy. Supplementing the solar power instruction that is part of the regular curriculum at the Bear Creek School, an energy kiosk donated by Mc-Clure Company has been installed in the Bear Creek School. The kiosk has been connected to the solar field and will report real time energy being harvested as well as other interesting facts about how solar power works.