Three schools in Dare County selected to receive 20-kilowatt rooftop solar arrays

Published 4:27 pm Saturday, June 24, 2023

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Dare County Schools has announced that three schools in the district will receive NC GreenPower’s grant award for the Solar+ Schools program.

Cape Hatteras Secondary School, First Flight Elementary School and Manteo Middle School will receive a solar educational package that includes a 20-kilowatt (kW) solar array, STEM curricula, teacher training and more.

New for 2023, the program awardees will receive a grant to pay for all of the project’s construction costs, expected to be approximately $55,000-$75,000. The included weather station and data monitoring will incorporate live information from the array into classrooms. Teachers will be able to compare different weather scenarios and involve students in reading and interpreting the energy data.

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“We are very excited to be able to install larger systems for the first time and save schools even more on their energy bills. Removing the fundraising burden and simplifying the application process has been well received by our applicants and enabled additional schools to consider installing solar,” said Vicky McCann, vice president of NC GreenPower. “We are proud to continue educating younger generations about solar energy. By the end of next year, we will have reached more than 62,000 students across North Carolina.”

The Solar+ Schools program is open to all public and private K-12 schools in North Carolina. The installed 20-kW photovoltaic systems serve as educational tools and provide an energy impact. NC GreenPower expects the arrays to generate about 28,000 kilowatt-hours annually, potentially saving schools up to $3,000 per year and likely covering a significant portion of each school’s energy use. Collectively, NC GreenPower Solar+ Schools recipients have saved an estimated $88,000 in electricity expenses since the program’s introduction in 2015.

The program’s STEM and solar curriculum training has benefited more than 280 teachers throughout the state, stated a Dare County Schools press release.

NC GreenPower also announced that the member-funded State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) Foundation is maintaining its support of Solar+ Schools. The SECU

Foundation’s contribution will offer additional funding – up to $600,000 through 2024 – to assist with installation costs for selected public schools each year.

“SECU Foundation has been a supporter of NC GreenPower’s educational and incentive programs for many years and has enjoyed working together to raise greater awareness about renewable energy resources,” said Jama Campbell, SECU Foundation executive director. “We’re amazed to see how the Solar Schools program has grown and how students and communities all over the state are learning about how much energy we use and how it is generated. Our combined efforts are working to ensure that North Carolina communities have a cleaner and diverse energy supply.”

NC GreenPower’s McCann added, “We are appreciative of SECU members for their continued financial support and partnership, helping us improve the environment and increase solar education in our state.”