Allison Blood, KMOX News

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Parkway Schools are saving about 14 thousand dollars this coming school year on its energy costs, thanks to thousands of new solar panels.

The bid went to Brightergy, a St. Louis area solar development and finance firm. Parkway is paying for this project through a collection of federal and state grants. Though the Parkway School Board voted to start this project on May 3rd, the bid wasn’t granted until the 25th. The panels will be installed through the course of the summer.

Brightergy estimates the district will save $14,194 in the first year of using solar panels, and will result in $1.4 million in savings through the life of the contract. Still, that only accounts for two percent of the district’s energy use.

“Once you get above 25 kilowatts, that’s kind of the maximum of the funding. So we would have possibly done more, but we would have had to invest more capital of our own,” District Spokesman Paul Tandy said.

He says the goal is to have all the panels up before the school year starts. Tandy says even though that’s not a huge savings, the panels will offer an educational opportunity. He says there will be software installed that will allow students and teachers will be able to monitor the amount of energy being produced at any given time. Brightergy will be developing a curriculum for science teachers to use that software for lesson plans.

Panels will be installed on 33 buildings, each building holding 2,500 square feet of panels. All toll, that’s 3,267 panels, which is enough to cover 30 tennis courts.


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