Campus Sustainability

NY District Covering All Electricity Needs with Solar

A New York school district is now generating all of its electricity needs through a 4.1-megawatt solar project. Maine-Endwell Central School District in Endwell activated its system, located on district property next to an elementary school, on March 23. It's expected to save the district more than $6.2 million in future energy costs over the course of 25 years.

The project covers 15 acres and includes 6,240 solar panels. According to the district, it's the largest solar array owned by a school system in the state to reach 100% solar offset. The project was engineered by Eisenbach & Ruhnke Engineering and installed by Renovus Solar, both New York-based companies.

Maine-Endwell School District Solar Energy
Photo credit: Flying Brick Photography and Maine-Endwell Central School District

The system was expected to cost $7.3 million; however, that was offset by 82% through a state solar program incentive of $819,237 and additional state aid of $5.2 million.

The local utility company monitors the amount of solar array production through remote net metering and turns it into rolling credits, which are then applied to the district's utility bill throughout the year, including during the winter months when little to no energy is produced.

The solar initiative began in September 2019 when the district's board of education signed a "pre-development" agreement with Renovus. Construction was started last July 2020 and finished in November.

"Through visionary leadership and foresight, the Maine-Endwell Central School District and Renovus Solar have created a thoughtful and responsible solution to our electricity needs," said Maine-Endwell Superintendent Jason Van Fossen, in a statement. "Equally important, we have created the opportunity for our students and staff to learn the value of renewable energy resources, while providing our community with long-term cost-savings."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.