Greenville school solar project going better than expected

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 10:01 pm on Friday, August 23, 2013

After three years using the Solar PV systems at both Greenville High School and Lincoln Heights Elementary School, Greenville Public Schools officials say the panels are performing better than expected. — Courtesy photo/Doug Suess


GREENVILLE – Since installing Solar PV Systems three years ago at Greenville High School and one elementary, school officials are happy with the outcome.

According to Greenville Public Schools Superintendent Pete Haines, the systems are producing more than expected in its third year.

“Each system is producing a bit more electricity than the guarantee from both the manufacturer who is now gone and the contractor JCI who has a financial obligation to us if they do not produce as specified,” Haines said. “As anticipated, our best months are the summer months and our lowest months are the shorter days of winter.”

A notable point, Haines said, is the fact Greenville has noted the anticipated degradation is not happening anywhere near the rate anticipated in the financial agreement and guarantees.

“So far, they are showing little or no impact due to age,” Haines said.

The systems are bringing in between $70,000 and $80,000 per year. They were designed to produced $60,000 the first year and steady decline over 25 years.

Director of Finance John Gilchrist said the output of the systems have been monitored since it went live in October 2010.

“For the full calendar year of 2013, Greenville High School generated 106,000 kWh versus the 103,883 at Lincoln Heights Elementary School,” Gilchrist said. “We get $0.375 per kWh from Consumers Energy so the system generated a little over $78,900.”

As of this week, the high school has generated 71,250 kWh in production for this year and 67,049 at Lincoln Heights.

“We are looking at about 190,000 kWh in production for the 2013 calendar year, which is about $71,250” Gilchrist said. “We have found that getting a good amount of daylight in March and April is really a make or break period for the system.”

Haines said it has been noted that snow decreases the amount produced while ice doesn’t produce any energy.

This fall, Gilchrist said updated graphs will be displayed on the school’s business office department page to show the output for each year.

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