A great deal for all

Published 6:13 pm Friday, December 17, 2021

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We happen to think that using renewable energy and saving the school system millions in taxpayer dollars at the same time is a very good thing.

This process has been ongoing for quite a while now. Isle of Wight County’s School Board approved a contract with Sigora Solar to place panels on seven of its nine schools. This deal excluded Hardy and Westside elementary schools, since both of those buildings are slated to be replaced in the near future.

Six of the seven schools are now “live,” meaning they are drawing power from the panels. The installation at Smithfield Middle School is still ongoing.

This deal allowed for the panels to be installed at no cost to the county in exchange for a commitment by IWCS to purchase the electricity generated and use it to power the schools. Once all seven schools have live panels, they will allow IWCS to offset about 44% of those schools’ total electricity needs.

Here’s the great part: IWCS expects to save more than $3 million over the life of the 20-year agreement, since electricity from solar sources is often cheaper than other sources.

And one more great part: the combined rooftop arrays are projected to produce an estimated 4,252 megawatt-hours or renewable energy each year, offsetting the equivalent carbon emissions of an average car driving 7.6 million miles.

This is a great deal for Isle of Wight County Schools, the taxpayers and the environment.