Campbell school district leases land for solar power savings


By Graig Graziosi

ggraziosi@vindy.com

CAMPBELL

The Campbell school district is working to cut its facility costs and carbon footprint by partnering with a solar power company.

The district will lease about 10 acres to a yet-to-be-selected solar power company.

The parcels being leased are 2.46 acres on Penhale Avenue, 2.96 acres on Reed Avenue, a 2.65-acre section of the elementary and middle school’s land and 1.93 acres of the Campbell Memorial High School practice field.

Solar panels will be installed on the land.

The district has spent the past six months working with Guaranteed Clean Energy of Dublin, Ohio, which helps public entities effectively partner with sustainability companies.

Guaranteed Clean Energy launched its “Energy for Education” program this year, which pairs public entities with renewable utility providers and sustainability companies.

Projections provided by the district estimate the Energy for Education Program will save $159,662 annually.

Campbell Superintendent Matthew Bowen said the district estimates the new solar program alone will save $34,399 annually. The district also will use the program to invest in new LED lighting, which is projected to save $67,172 annually.

Andy Bittner, the CEO of Guaranteed Clean Energy, said his company is working with 60 public entities nationwide.

“When a school district or municipality wants to move into renewables, they often want to be responsible but don’t have expertise to do it on their own, so they need a partner they can trust who’s looking out for them,” Bittner said. “Otherwise, they could end up just hiring a gigantic energy-services firm that acts as both their advisor and their supplier. That can be a bad thing when your adviser is telling you to buy millions of dollars of the stuff they’re selling.”

Bittner said the schools would receive a significant portion of the energy used directly from the solar panels.

The district also will use the program to invest in synthetic turf on its football field, which is projected to create additional savings of $24,000 through the reduction of fertilizer, mowing, watering and lining.

The lease agreement made between the district and the solar company it chooses likely will be a 20- to 25-year lease.

“We’re very excited to create opportunities for students while saving costs with no increases of taxes in our community,” Bowen said.

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