Six schools in Morris County, New Jersey, are installing solar modules that are expected to generate 1.84 megawatts of energy each year and significantly reduce carbon emissions.
The Montville Township Public Schools project is funded by a 15-year solar power purchase agreement (PPA) supplied by Solar Landscape, and SolarEdge is installing the system. The installations are part of an estimated 600 solar projects that have been added to New Jersey schools as part of a program to decarbonize the state’s educational facilities.
The PPA allows the school district to install the solar arrays with no upfront investment and will let it purchase the electricity the solar project generates at a lower cost than for energy that would come straight from the grid.
The project is expected to save the Montville Township Public Schools nearly $1 million in energy costs annually over the next 15 years. It will also reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of 1,500 tons of coal burned each year.
SolarEdge is installing the system and was chosen for the project because of its track record of similar projects at schools, which the companies say aren’t always straightforward. The roofs on older buildings can have obstructions like skylights that can restrict module placement and reduce energy production.
This design by SolarEdge also allows the layout of the modules to adapt to the roof shape to generate more power and optimization. It has helped Solar Landscape increase the amount of usable roof space on two of the school district’s buildings by nearly 50%, the companies say.
Schools across the country are installing renewable energy projects to help them be more energy efficient and sustainable. According to the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, more than 7,300 schools across the United States have solar installations, an increase of 139% since 2014.
A similar project is being installed in Virginia for the Wight County Schools. That is a 3.3-megawatt project that is expected to offset nearly half of the energy needs of the district. Schools are also using other methods to improve energy efficiency, such as an energy conservation platform being used by districts in California and Florida that can reduce consumption by 24%.
As part of the New Jersey project, a large-screen monitor will be installed at Montville High School, which will constantly display the amount of energy the renewable energy system is generating.
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