Green Schools | News

North Carolina School Adopts Solar To Save $16 Million

Sandy Grove Middle School (SGMS), located in Hoke County, NC, has deployed a photovoltaic solar power system, making it a net producer of energy.

The school, which has received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certification, has installed a 589-kilowatt solar installation that, along with other energy efficiency measures, is projected to save approximately $16 million in energy costs over the next 40 years. "Combined with other operations and maintenance efficiencies, SGMS will save Hoke County, NC more than $35 million during that same period," according to a news release about the installation.

SGMS has also deployed a 600-kW generator with custom controls and demand response capabilities, designed and installed by the same company contracted for the solar system, PowerSecure Solar. "Demand response provides an opportunity for consumers to play a significant role in the operation of the electric grid by reducing or shifting their electricity usage during peak periods in response to time-based rates or other forms of financial incentives," according to the United States Department of Energy. "Such programs can lower the cost of electricity in wholesale markets, and in turn, lead to lower retail rates."

Sandy Grove Middle School, which opened it's doors to students for the first time August 17, "is the nation's first net-positive energy, LEED platinum designed, leased public school," according to information on the Hoke County Schools Web site. "This building includes an enhanced building envelope, an energy efficient HVAC design, LED lighting, photovoltaic installation, and energy star equipment."

For more information about Sandy Grove Middle School's sustainability efforts, visit the SGMS Web site.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].