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Solar arrays on schools will save energy and money

Six school buildings in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 will gain solar panels on their roofs this fall.

Not only will energy and money be saved, but the project will have an educational component. It will be connected to school programs, including college and career Pathways, as a way for students to learn about alternative energies.  

The district has no upfront costs for the solar arrays valued at $1.2 million. Instead for the first 12 years, the district receives 25% of the energy that's generated while the other 75% goes to pay for the arrays. After 12 years when the arrays are paid in full, the district will receive 100% of the energy that's generated.

It’s estimated that the district will realize over $1 million of electrical savings during the 25 years of the warranty. Significant additional savings of $1 million or more could be realized since the solar arrays are expected to last beyond the warranty period.

To qualify, schools must receive power from Xcel Energy (some of the district’s schools receive power from other companies) and be structurally able to handle the extra weight of the panels.

Solar arrays will be installed at:

  • Pates Stadium at Burnsville High School (not the whole high school) in Burnsville;
  • Marion W. Savage Elementary in Savage;
  • Cedar School (where Burnsville Alternative High School and other programs are located) in Eagan;
  • Sioux Trail Elementary in Burnsville;
  • River Ridge Education Center (formerly the Administrative Services Center where the BEST transition program and other programs are now located) in Burnsville, and
  • Vista View Elementary in Burnsville.

Members of the District 191 Board of Education awarded the contract to Ideal Energies on June 22.

Posted: Wednesday, July 5, 2017 - 17:15