Mayfield schools seek solar power

MAYFIELD – The Mayfield Central School District is moving ahead with getting solar panels to provide power for the district’s school buildings.

The Board of Education this week approved a power purchasing agreement.

The board approved signing the agreement, which not only is designed to save the district money on power costs, but includes solar power in the academic curriculum.

Ernie Clapper, board president, said engineers approved the designs, and the cost of installation and maintenance would be handled by Monolith.

Board member Tush Nikollaj said he is concerned about the language of the agreement. Nikollaj said the educational section of the agreement is not very definitive.

“It’s very loose as far as what that means,” Nikollaj said.

The board agreed to look into the issue.

Former Mayfield Superintendent Paul Williamsen said the project could save the district $40,000 to $80,000 in power costs.

Tim Carr, strategic account manager with Monolith, said in July the project could allow the district to have 400 kilowatts of solar power provided for the elementary and high schools.

Carr said the project could take six to eight weeks to receive approval from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

“It would probably be, realistically, a September or October installation date,” Carr said in July.

Carr said Monolith would pay for the construction and installation of the panels.

“There is no cost to the district to do this whatsoever,” Carr said.

Mayfield would buy power from Monolith at a reduced rate, compared to current electrical power costs. Carr said solar power could cost 25 percent less than what the district is paying now. The contract would last for 20 years, Carr said.

Carr also said Monolith is working on curriculum development involving solar panels. He said students would get to see how the panels work. There would be seminars for the students, he said.

Carr said Internet monitoring would allow students to see the environmental effects of the panels.