In a meeting with a relatively light agenda, the South Windsor Board of Education Tuesday heard a presentation from the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities on the possibility of the school system buying clean, green energy generated by the sun.
The program - from CCM’s Solar/PV Power Purchase Program - would allow the school district to receive fixed-price power for 20 years with no upfront cost.
According to CCM’s Andy Merola, the program, which is a recent extension of CCM's Energy program, involves solar development companies designing, financing, building, operating and maintaining solar energy systems at municipal and school sites. In the South Windsor public schools' case, those sites would be school roofs.
Once a system is installed on a school roof, the development company then sells the power generated by the solar facilities to the school district at a negotiated fixed rate. The term of the contract between the solar energy company and the school system would be 20 years.
Developers finance the projects using revenue generated by the system as well as through the sale of Zero Emission Renewable Energy Credits (ZRECs), which provide between 66 percent and 75 percent of overall revenue for the project, according to CCM's website.
East Hartford and Enfield are currently taking part in the program, according to Merola.
According to Merola, new solar/photovoltaic systems would only be installed on school roofs that are eligible for the program, nameky ones that can accommodate the equipment and that have a warrantly life of 10 or more years.
At the moment, just two small portions of the roofs at two elementary schools qualify in South Windsor. If a referendum question addressing school roofs passes, then Orchard Hill Elementary School, Pleasant Valley Elementary School and 40 percent of the high school's roof would be eligible for the program, according to Patrick Hankard, director of facilities management at the schools.
There would be little risk to the schools, according to Merola, as the schools would only buy energy if the photovoltaic system was running. The developers would be responsible for maintaining the system, not the school.
“I think it’s great,” said Hankard, noting that the notion of a fixed energy cost for 20 years “is a very big deal.”
The item was merely up for discussion and no action was taken.