Northland Pines School District looks forward to economic and educational benefits of solar panelsSubmitted: 09/14/2017
Katie Thoresen
Katie Thoresen
Senior Producer

Northland Pines School District looks forward to economic and educational benefits of solar panels
EAGLE RIVER - In just a couple of months, the Northland Pines School District will partially run on solar energy. 

In less than two weeks, Eagle Point Solar crews have transformed the roof of Northland Pines Middle and High School into a solar array.

"It really helps out in the long run to utilize that empty space up there and produce power," said project manager Alan Johnson.

Between the roof of the high school, the grounds behind the elementary, and Land O'Lakes school, Eagle Point Solar will install 1,400 panels, which will produce about 480,000 kilowatt-hours of power per year.

"It's enough energy to efficiently run 38 homes across the United States, so that's a lot energy," said Northland Pines District Administrator Dr. Mike Richie.

Richie isn't just excited about the economic benefit of the solar panels.

"We're going to save anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 per year," said Richie.

He's also excited about the educational benefits.

Just like at Lakeland Union High School in Minocqua, people will be able to see the amount of energy the solar panels produce on Northland Pines' website.

"All this data is going to be great for our students," said Richie.

That new opportunity is satisfying for Alan Johnson, who knows his hard work will lead to more people learning about solar power.

"I would think that a lot more people would be a lot more inclined to get solar either on their homes or businesses or even facilities such as this," Johnson said. 

The school district has no up-front or maintenance costs for the solar array. In 12 years, Northland Pines will have the option to buy panels from the third-party investor.

If it does that, it could save the school district $50,000 in energy costs each year.

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