Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District to install solar energy panels on six buildings
The Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District is going to install several solar energy panels that it said could save about $1 million over the next 25 years.
The school board at its June 22 meeting approved a contract with Minneapolis-based company Ideal Energies for a “solar arrays” energy project, which are essentially several solar panels that will be installed on six district buildings.
The buildings receiving the panels will be: Pates Stadium at Burnsville High School, Marion W. Savage Elementary in Savage, Sioux Trail Elementary in Burnsville, Vista View Elementary in Burnsville, River Ridge Education Center in Burnsville and Cedar School in Eagan, where the Burnsville Alternative High School and other programs are housed.
“Over the warrantied life of the systems (25 years), it’s estimated the school district will realize over $1 million of electrical savings,” said Ruth Dunn, communications director, in an e-mail. “The solar arrays are expected to last beyond the warranty period producing significant additional savings of $1 million or more.”
The cost for the project is $1.2 million, but the district’s responsibility will be about $392,000 because there are federal tax credits and a grant program that will help pay for it, said Rich Ragatz, vice president of business development of Ideal Energies. The district will make monthly payments called “Power Purchase Expense” payments over the course of 12 years.
To qualify for this project, schools have to get their power from Xcel Energy and have to be capable of handling the extra weight from the solar panels, Dunn said. Xcel Energy has two programs for energy savings that they would benefit from under this solar energy project, Made in Minnesota and Solar Rewards.
“We believe this is a unique opportunity,” said Lisa Rider, executive director of business services for the school district, at the board meeting, also mentioning the chance to educate students about alternative energy.