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Ovid-Elsie approves solar panel plan estimated to save $30K per year

(Source: WBTV)
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 3:33 PM EDT
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ELSIE, Mich. (WILX) - The future of Ovid-Elsie Schools looks like it will be bright. Literally.

The Ovid-Elsie Area School Board has unanimously approved an agreement with a renewable energy company called SunFundED to develop, finance and service solar energy systems for the district’s high school, middle school and two elementary schools. The project is expected to reduce energy costs by an estimated $4 million over the next 30 years.

The new technology will be added through the firm’s “Solar-as-a-Service” program. That means the installer covers the cost of installation and sells the maintenance of the panels as a service.

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“In today’s economy, especially for public rural education, funding has become tighter and more critical for building operations,” said Dr. Ryan Cunningham, Ovid-Elsie Superintendent. “Being able to adopt solar technology with Solar-as-a-Service streamlines the process on the front end so we don’t have to invest in engineers, architects, or other time and capital costs with a project like solar.”

The project is expected to generate 744 KW across 4 buildings, a power output that would significantly offset electric consumption for the high school, middle school and two elementary schools.

Cunningham said, “Typically, a project of this magnitude would require a school to issue a Bond and raise community member’s taxes. ‘Solar-as-a-service’ affords the school the opportunity to bring energy savings to each school, with no outlay of capital by the district, no debt and no burden on our community.”

The district said their estimated savings for running the four buildings in the first year will be approximately $30,000.

“It’s one thing to read about renewable energy in a book,” said Ovid-Elsie Trustee Josh Miller. “When you actually see something like solar technology out of your classroom window, touch it, and run projects around it, that’s an entirely different experience.”

Patrick Poer, a co-founder of SunFundED, said Ovid-Elsie is among the early adopters of this energy strategy, but they’re not the first.

“We are thrilled to engage with Ovid-Elsie as one of the first public school clients to adopt Solar-as-a-Service,” said Poer. “We have signed up several other public schools and universities that will be included in our next portfolios, one of those that will include Ovid-Elsie.”

SunFundED has recently signed agreements with other school districts around the country, including Montabella Community School District in Michigan.

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