Washoe County School District Adds Solar Panels to Save Money
The Washoe County School District is adding solar panels to five schools around the Reno/Sparks area. Right now the Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology is getting a 500 kilowatt array of solar panels. The district says those panels could save about $90,000 a year in electricity costs.
Washoe County School District Chief Capital Project Officer Mark Stanton says the cost of the projects is offset by energy rebates from NV Energy. "For no cost to the school district, we're able to save taxpayers $700,000 a year in 35 of our schools over the past five years," he said.
Over at Reed High School, you can see a completed solar project which was installed about two years ago.
The panels also serve as parking structures and provide shade to cars. The projects also let students see sustainable energy at work, and reduce the district's carbon footprint. "It's the reduction in electricity costs, reduction in electricity consumption which means less carbon pollution into the air," Stanton said.
Officials say the savings from solar go back into the school district's general fund. "We have $700,00 a year that we aren't spending on electric bills that can be used to go back into the classrooms to help pay for additional teachers, technology and supplies and books,” Stanton said.
The district plans to install solar panels at four more schools in the Reno/Sparks area by the end of July. The schools are: O'Brien Middle School, Dilworth Middle School, Washoe Innovations High School and Sparks High School.