by Stephen Betts, BDN Staff
Bangor Daily News news story
ROCKPORT, Maine — The Five-Town Community School District Board approved Wednesday night a solar power project for the high school that will continue to reduce the electrical costs for the complex.
Facilities Director Keith Rose said the goal of students is for Camden Hills Regional High School to become self sustaining.
Camden Hills opened in 2000 and since the first year of operation, when the cost of electricity was $250,000 total, the utility bill has been declining through a variety of projects. Rose said when the solar project is done and outside lights have been replaced with light emitting diode lights, the projected electrical costs at the school will be less than $40,000 annually. Indoor lights have already been changed to LEDs.
The board agreed Wednesday night to contract with ReVision Energy which has offices in Liberty, Portland, and Exeter, New Hampshire. ReVision will install a series of solar panels on the high school roof that will generate about 200,000 kilowatt hours each year.
ReVision will own the panels but after six years, the district can buy them through the purchase power agreement to be signed. For those six years, the district will pay ReVision for electricity at market rates. The expected cost to the district to buy the panels at that point would be $170,000.
The student organization Windplanners will work to get grants during the next six years in order to pay for the purchase, Rose said. The Windplanners also were the driving force in the erection of a 155-foot tall wind turbine in 2012. The Windplanners helped raise $500,000 for the turbine that the school owns and operates.
“This is a no brainer,” Rose said about the solar purchase power agreement.