Solar panels save school district moneySubmitted: 05/14/2018
Solar panels save school district money
Ryan Sandberg
Ryan Sandberg
Meteorologist/News Producer

EAGLE RIVER - The Northland Pines School District hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday to celebrate its new solar panel system.

The District flipped the switch on last fall, but waited for nicer weather to make it official.

The sun plays a big role to help power the Northland Pines School District.

Last November, the district began using its new solar panel system at the Eagle River Elementary School and the Northland Pines Middle and High School.

"We're looking at trying to be very fiscally responsible. Save as much money as we can for our tax payers," said Northland Pines District Administrator Mike Richie.

Since November, about 1,000 solar panels have saved the school district more than $15,000 in energy.
The system will generate about 430,000 kilowatt-hours in a year, which will be about 22 percent of the buildings' use.

"School districts are struggling for dollars around the country, specially Wisconsin. And this gives them a tool to reduce their energy cost," said Mark Hanson of Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction.

The solar project also has many educational benefits.

"This is a chance for students to learn about solar, have it in their curriculum, and also see it as a path forward for future jobs," said Hanson.

Richie hopes the project continues for many years to come.

"It looks like it's going to produce about anywhere between $40,000 to $70,000 per year at the end of its twelfth year. If those numbers hold true, it'd be a very wise investment for the school district to continue with this project," said Richie.

Thanks to a third-party investor, the school district has no upfront costs for the solar system.

People can go the Northland Pines District website to see just how much energy the solar panels produce and how much money is saved over time.

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