Work begins on WVSD's solar power project work

| 20 Jul 2017 | 05:25

— The Warwick Valley School District held a ground-breaking ceremony on July 12 to celebrate the start of construction of its solar power project on the campus of Sanfordville Elementary School.
In what will soon be the largest school district-owned solar project in New York State, the 2.419 MW solar powered array will generate approximately 2,919,000 Kwh of electricity each year.
School officials said it will produce enough electricity to offset the district’s entire electricity bill through monetary credits, saving the school district approximately $250,000 a year in energy costs.
Two years in the makingAfter developing the concept, the Warwick Valley School Board put the project out to bid in the spring of 2015, and ultimately awarded the project to Con Ed Solutions.
In July of that year, after nearly a year of research, discussions and meetings, the board formally approved plans to build a solar field on approximately ten acres of excess property on the campus of Sanfordville Elementary School.
"Our Board of Education has been very supportive of this project from the beginning, said BOE member David Eaton. "In fact, our school district adopted a policy on sustainability in August 2015."
The planning process took more than two years and the project was approved by New York State in June 2016.
Construction began this week. The project will not displace any playground or athletic areas, and the cross country track will be maintained around the solar field. For the safety of students and to protect the solar panels, the project includes security cameras and fencing around the panels, as well as tree planting along Sanfordville Road.
The solar project is part of an Energy Performance Contract (EPC), approved and aided by the state. It will also qualify for incentives through New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA). As an EPC, the project is required to pay for itself within 18 years.
The development of renewable energy sources has been encouraged Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Overall, state-supported solar power in New York has increased nearly 800 percent from December 2011 to today.
Less overhead, more education“The importance of sustainability and green technology is critical for our schools, our community and the world,” said Assistant Superintendent for Business Timothy Holmes. “Not only are we reducing our carbon footprint, but we’re also lowering the cost of meeting the energy needs of the district.”
With this initiative, the district hopes to eliminate an electric bill altogether, while helping Warwick become a greener community.
“This project will allow us to put more taxpayer money into the actual education of our students and less on overhead costs," said Warwick Superintendent, Dr. David Leach. "We’re also excited about the educational opportunity for our students to learn about renewable energy.”