Another Shade of Green

The New School is Acquiring a Solar Panel Power System

Solar panel construction begins

Ms. Pflaumer

Solar panel construction begins

Cameron Curney, Staff Writer

Mid-January marked the beginning of construction for Abington’s Middle/High School’s solar panel system. While the workers are scheduled to perform during hours where the noise from construction should not affect class time, students who have studied in the library can attest to the startling bangs that come from the roof.

But the minor disruption should be worth it. The panels are projected to save the school district $40,000 a year in energy savings.

Matthew Cicione, a representative from the retrofitting company Ameresco, explained that this was possible “because of a power purchase agreement” (PPA). He explained how a “PPA is a contract where a company owns the panels,” in this case, Ameresco, “but the energy the panels collect is sold back to the school for a lower price than what the school would otherwise pay through its regular energy supplier National Grid.”

The panels are projected to save the school district $40,000 a year in energy savings.

— Cam Curney

Cicione said that “the rate that Ameresco will sell the electricity back to the school will remain the same for the next 20 years. The school will keep the panels for the next 20 years, and at that time they will elect to either purchase them or have them removed.”

If the panels do not collect a sufficient amount of energy, “Ameresco will reimburse the school the savings that the company had previously promised the school.”

Over the next 20 years, the panels will remain on the roof unless winds upwards of 110 miles per hour strike. But after this winter, with the many Nor’Easters striking the Northeast and the destructive winds that have accompanied them, maybe the possibility of solar panels flying from the roof doesn’t seem all that radical.