Amphi Schools Soak Up Solar Energy
Amphitheater Public Schools will be installing solar energy systems at all 20 school sites and several support facilities across the district, providing an estimated $23 million in cost-savings to taxpayers and creating educational opportunities for students. The project is scheduled to roll out in three phases, with the first installations beginning in late 2015 and project completion expected by mid-2016.
All of the systems will utilize solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity. The panels will be installed primarily as shade canopies over fields, playground areas, parking lots and some rooftops.
As part of the project, Amphitheater Public Schools negotiated a 25-year Solar Services Agreement (SSA) in which the District will pay a flat cost per kilowatt hour for the energy produced by the systems. The solar rate is set in advance and will remain constant for the full term of the SSA. The project is expected to save the District approximately $100,000 in the first year, with many sites offsetting more than 80% of their annual electricity needs.
In addition to reducing energy costs and increased shaded play areas for students, the installed solar systems will also generate a solar educational component by offering real-time online data monitoring capabilities. This data will be integrated into the school curriculum to help students learn about how solar electricity works and the benefits of renewable energy. Students and teachers will also be able to observe how solar energy is powering their schools, as well as introduce students to potential careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields.
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