After over a year of fundraising and research, solar panels are being installed at Chandler Elementary School this week.
â€œThis is the first alternative energy source of any kind (to be used) on a town building,â€ Jim Savicki of Sustainable Duxbury said. Sustainable Duxbury raised $22,000 in just four months last year for the New England Wind Solar Challenge. In late April 2008, the group reached its goal in order to receive solar panels and accompanying software from New England Wind Fund, an affiliate of Mass Energy.
The past year has been spent doing research to find the best installer and location for the panels, Savicki said.
The group tested sites, and found that the Chandler courtyard had the best solar exposure and accessibility to the children, Barbara Bartlett, an energy consultant for the schools, said. There are 12 2.4KW panels that are going to be installed on a pole in the courtyard. There will also be an accompanying weather station to measure wind speed, temperature, rain, and other weather elements, Bartlett said.
The panels will save the town about $1,000 a year, Savicki said.
After raising more than enough money for the panels, Sustainable Duxbury received Web-based software to go along with the panels. This software will allow town residents to go online and see the output of the panels. Teachers were trained on how to use the technology during a professional day in May, and will incorporate it into the curriculum in all the schools.
â€œThe real value of the system is itâ€™s educational component,â€ Savicki said. It will be a part of the science and math curriculum in grades 5-12.
Installation is halfway done, with the panels being mounted this week. Installation should be done in July, however the official opening will be next fall, in order to include the children in the ceremony, Savicki said.