CA: Update on ARHS’ solar project and efforts to reduce energy use and costs

Above: Solar panels installed on Algonquin’s roof are just one of the ways the high school is seeking to reduce energy costs. Other initiatives include reducing the school’s energy consumption.

(contributed photos)

Last spring, the Regional School Committee approved a project to install solar panels at Algonquin Regional High School. Yesterday, the Community Advocated posted an update on the status and an overview of other energy conservation efforts by the school administration:

After five years of research, exploration and a feasibility study, solar panel installation at Algonquin Regional High School (ARHS) began in late August and was estimated to be completed in mid-November. This is the first solar project for the Northborough Southborough Public Schools District.

I reached out to District Director of Operations Keith Lavoie for clarification on that “mid-November” timeframe. He confirmed for me that the project is 90% complete. The next step for connecting to the grid. That is expected to take a few months.

Lavoie also shared two photos of the panels on the school roof. (Click to enlarge)

ARHS Solar pic contributed ARHS Solar pic contributed

Here are more highlights from the CA article:

It is estimated that the system will generate about 12 percent of ARHS’s electrical energy needs and will save the District approximately 5-8 percent of its electrical costs annually. . .

Lavoie credits ARHS Director of Facilities Mike Gorman for his dedication to the project.

“He did a lot of work to keep this project moving from infancy five years ago to bringing it to fruition now,” he said. “He saw the benefits and kept it moving forward.”. . .

An educational component has been embedded in the agreement for student learning opportunities. A representative from the company will share information with students, allow them to see the solar panels and how the data is examined. . . 

The solar project at ARHS is a pilot, but doing the same in the future at other Northborough or Southborough schools will be explored as part of the goal to have each school run as efficiently as possible. . .

Gorman initiated an energy conservation program at the school in 2008. The focus since has been on no cost saving opportunities.

“Just by educating staff and starting our efforts, we got the ARHS community behind our energy initiative,” he said. “The first year, by just turning off equipment that was not needed and turning things off over the weekends and holiday breaks, we saved an astounding $39,000.”

The story also covers other energy saving initiatives already tackled and on the horizon. You can read the full details here.

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