TIPP CITY, Ohio — Adams County Ohio Valley School District will soon harvest much of its electricity from the sun as part of an energy conservation project it has undertaken with Energy Optimizers, USA.
Energy Optimizers, USA is a Tipp City-based company that works with K-12 school districts and local government agencies to reduce energy usage and costs.
Work is nearing completion on the district’s 535-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic array, with the entire array expected to be up and running in the near future. Once the project is complete, 100,000 square feet of solar panels will be utilized as part of the district’s far-reaching effort to reduce its energy costs and environmental footprint. The photovoltaic solar array, in combination with several other energy saving measures, is expected to net the school district $259,330 annually in utility savings.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for the school district and the community," said Mark Wiley, president of Kastle Solar, LLC, a Dayton, Ohio-based company that has installed the solar array, in a statement. "This is a progressive move for the district, one that the entire community can take pride in."
In total, the district is making improvements to all seven of its buildings, including the Ohio Valley Career Technology Center (CTC). In partnership with Energy Optimizers, USA, the district has made several efforts to improve energy efficiency. They include overhauling the CTC’s boiler plant with new, energy efficient equipment; upgrading the CTC’s fuel supply from oil to cleaner-burning propane; and replacing interior lighting with more efficient lamps and remove unneeded lamps to cut waste.
The district has also replaced exterior lighting by going to LED technology; installed occupancy sensors on many light fixtures to reduce wasted electricity; installed advanced energy management controls to provide real-time, web-based monitoring and management of the district’s HVAC systems; and installed energy-saving features to the kitchen exhaust fans and coolers.
Projected energy savings are guaranteed for three years. Funding is provided through the Ohio School Facilities Commission’s House Bill 264 program.
"We are excited about bringing these solar arrays online," said Superintendent Rodney Wallace in a statement. "It’s the right thing to do for our students and our taxpayers. Not only will the arrays deliver significant savings in energy costs, it is also an excellent tool for educating students and the public about engineering concepts and environmental stewards through energy management."
The project has gained the attention of Ohio Senator Joe Uecker. "I applaud Superintendent Wallace and the Ohio Valley School District for promoting building improvements that protect the environment and put more funds back into our classrooms. Students now have more opportunities to excel academically while protecting the world they live in and understanding fiscal responsibility," said Senator Uecker in a statement.