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District to Save an Estimated $651,000 Through Installation of Solar Panels

by School District of Clayton

The School District of Clayton will save an estimated $651,000 over the next 20 years while reducing its impact on the environment with the installation of eight arrays of solar panels on six buildings across the District. The Board of Education approved a 20-year lease proposal from Microgrid Solar, which includes Microgrid’s donation of an array of solar panels at Wydown Middle School (WMS).

“The installation of solar panels on six of our buildings is a wonderful opportunity for our District to reduce our operating expenditures while limiting our use of non-renewable energy sources,” said Superintendent Dr. Sharmon Wilkinson. “We are also looking forward to the unique learning opportunity the solar panels will provide for our students. By monitoring the daily activity of the solar panels, our students will learn more about solar power and the advantages of using alternate forms of energy.”

The 25-kilowatt arrays of solar panels will be installed on the roof of the Administration Building, Facility Services Building, Family Center’s facility on Gay Avenue, Captain Elementary, WMS and three arrays at Clayton High School. The slanted roofs on Glenridge Elementary and Meramec Elementary will not support a solar array system. As an educational component to the solar panels, touch screen monitors will be installed along with the solar arrays in order for students and staff to monitor the activity of the solar panels and the long-term impacts of using solar power.

Utility savings across the District could range from $7,000-$10,000 per year for the first few years of the lease and up to $34,000 in the last year of the lease. The donated solar array at WMS will equate to an estimated $40,000 in savings on lease payments over the course of the 20-year lease, in addition to approximately $53,000 in utility savings. The solar array at WMS will also be included in the District’s application to earn LEED® Gold certification for the school’s new building.

“This lease option with Microgrid Solar is a win-win alternative to the status quo,” said Facility Services Director Tim Wonish. “In addition to the cost savings and enrichment opportunities the solar panels will provide for our District over the next 20 years, the donated solar array at WMS will bring the new building one step closer to becoming a LEED® Gold-certified building.”

As part of its motion to approve the lease with Microgrid, the Board also agreed to forward their recommendation to the Clayton Recreation, Sports and Wellness Commission to consider the installation of two solar arrays at the Center of Clayton. Installation of the solar panels on the six District buildings will take place this summer.

Source: School District of Clayton