White County Central School District Superintendent Dean Stanley is excited that solar power is on the way to the district.
“We recently just closed the deal with Scenic Hill Solar [of Little Rock] to construct about a 3 1/2-acre solar array on our campus,” he said. “It will be behind our meter so it kind of works as a bank account; it will put kilowatt hours into the meter and then as we use them, it will take them from the meter.
“We really think it’s going to have huge effect on our utility bills. I think that will be a great savings. It is green, so in this day in age anything we can do to help the environment, we’re excited about.”
The district is not paying any of the construction costs for the project, which along with another for the Greenwood School District, are an estimated $3 million for Scenic Hill Solar.
“On the front end, they will basically own the plant for about 28 years and do all the maintenance and upkeep on it,” Stanley said. “We will basically be buying the electricity from them.”
Currently, WCC is using Entergy as its electric carrier.
“It will still run through their system somewhat and behind their meter,” Stanley said.
Concerning how much money switching to solar energy may save the district, Stanley said, district officials definitely believe it will “be a good cost-effective move.” He said the company’s projections for a 28-year span are “about a $1.1 million dollar savings, something in that range. Until we actually see it online, we won’t know actual savings.”
According to Stanley, the survey work for the project has already been done. “I would expect that they will begin construction anytime in the next month or so. They are hoping to be online by sometime in July.”
Asked how he found out about this type of of solar project, Stanley said that there are two or three companies that are “doing solar with school systems” and the district decided to take a look at it with the School Board and he said they had a vision to “maybe help with our utility bills.” He said after doing research, they selected Scenic Hill Solar as “the best fit for us.”
“We are excited about it,” Stanley said. “I’m learning a lot about technology. I think it’s obviously the way of the future and I think this is right up the kids alley, something they will be using the rest of their lives to some degree so I think it’s going to be very beneficial to our kids.”
As part of the solar project, some of the WCC students will take part in what Stanley calls “kind of a STEM program” where the students will be able to use some of the data and see how the particular process works. “We’re really looking for some hands-on things for our kids.”