FUTURE SOLAR … A solar array field sits on the west side of Wauseon Middle School. (PHOTO BY BILL O’CONNELL, STAFF)
By: Bill O’Connell
At a recent Swanton Board of Education (BOE) meeting, a presentation was given regarding the possible placement of a solar array field on Swanton Local School District property just north of the high school.
Giving the presentation was Mike Campo, the Chief Financial Officer of En-Trust Energy and representatives of Inovateus Solar and Dynamix Energy Services. All three companies would partner together in a joint venture to complete the project.
“We have been talking to them (En-Trust), on and off, for quite a while now about doing a solar field at Swanton High School to help with our energy costs and to be a little bit greener in our operation,” said Superintendent Chris Lake.
“En-Trust has been doing solar projects for several area schools over the last couple of years such as Wauseon, Tinora, Ayersville. Antwerp and a few more.”
Funding for this project would be provided by the companies in the joint venture and, contractually, they would own the solar array that would sit on approximately three acres of school property for the next 30 years. There would be no capital expenditure by the District.
Swanton Schools would enter into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) which is an agreement between two parties, one which generates electricity (seller) and one which will purchase electricity (buyer). At the end of the contract, Swanton schools would be given the option of purchasing the solar array at a “fair market value.”
According to Mr. Campos, the cost of electricity with the new “green” technology would be $0.090 per kilowatt hour and would remain at that price for length of the contract. Currently, the District pays $0.1125 per kilowatt hour. Estimated cost savings for the first 20 years is $1,500,000.
The property on which the array would sit would still be owned by the District but would be enclosed by a fence and maintained by En-Trust. The company has even offed to put in a butterfly garden at no additional cost to help beautify the area.
A vote by the Board members is expected to take place at the regularly scheduled BOE meeting on May 20, 2020 at 6:30 PM.
Bill can be reached at email@example.com