Rutland High School is still getting their rooftop and parking lot solar panels installed at Rutland High School, just not until next year.

“The project was going to start this week or next, and it was on schedule,” said Superintendent Dave Wolk. “I found out it would involve 100 parking spaces at the schools being displaced ... it didn’t make sense.”

Rather than have teachers, staff, students and faculty have to deal with the temporary displacement of so many parking spots while construction installed their new solar panels, Wolk said he postponed the installation of the solar project until the last student leaves in June to be completed in full that summer before students return in August.

The installation of solar panels on the roof of the Keefe Gym in the Rutland Intermediate School would commence as originally planned, however, as the construction would only displace six parking spaces — a far smaller hindrance to the staff and faculty there, Wolk said.

The Rutland City School Board of Commissioners voted to implement the solar structures almost unanimously — Kam Johnston was the only ‘no’ vote — in May.

The installation that will cover the entire parking lot of Rutland High School across the street from Applebees with solar shading in addition to rooftop

The contract is with Johnson Controls, a Milwaukee-based company with local offices, said Peter Amons who served as chief financial officer at the time of the board’s decision.

Amons said the project will technically not cost the school district a dime.

“The solar panels create energy that will get sold into the grid at 15.7 cents per kilowatt plus another three cents per kilowatt for the next 10 years,” Amons said. “So 18.7 cents for the first 10 years.”

In addition to the new solar panels, the project will include LED lighting in all of the buildings, plus a new heating system in the Longfellow building that would normally cost the district $98,000 in budget money, Amons said.

The Slate Valley Unified Union School District also made the decision to partner with MHG Solar this year in their re-utilization of slate quarry dump areas for their newest solar array projects.

Superintendent Brooke Olsen-Farrell said last month that the net metering credits would provide for 80% of the district’s energy needs.

“Participation in these two unique solar projects not only provides a tie to the community and creatively reuses industrial lands, but it also generates meaningful savings for the schools,” Cheryl Scarzello, director of finance with the district, said in the statement. “In total, the district expects to save more than $15,000 per year and more than $450,000 in electricity costs over the term of the solar projects.

Castleton University is also purchasing net metering credits from MHG Solar, according to a release from the university.


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