Ohio School Adds Nearly 2,000 Solar Panels to Roof

By SCN Staff

STEWART, Ohio—Federal Hocking Local Schools recently installed 1,968 solar panels to the roof of the Federal Hocking Middle and High School campus in Stewart.

The project—which is expected to cover 70 percent of the building’s energy needs during the year—has been promoted as a way to teach students about the renewable energy industry.

“Solar and renewable energy are the way of the future,” said Federal Hocking Superintendent George Wood. “But getting from here to there will take big actions by big organizations and institutions, like schools. Our district is a demonstration of what other districts can do.”

He said an outside company would own the plant and the school district would “buy energy from them at a reduced cost.”

The array was built and installed by a partnership consisting of the installer Third Sun Solar; New Resource Solutions, that structured the financing and Foundation Renewable Energy Company; and the system owner and operator.

“Third Sun Solar has installed solar on more than 70 schools, but this project is really exciting because it is right here in our community,” said Geoff Greenfield, Third Sun Solar president and co-founder.

“While the financial benefits to the school are very attractive, we believe that the benefits to our local economy—like the growing number of solar jobs—are also very important.”

The school district also invested $400,000 from its reserve account to reduce the cost of the electricity it would be purchasing and to “speed up the buy-back option on the plant,” added Wood.

“We will see reduced annual costs, accelerate our path to ownership and have more money for annual expenses.”

During the launch of this project in July, Wood urged other schools to take the same route.

“You’re generating cheap, clean energy. You’re getting an educational benefit from kids and you’re being a good steward of public resources. Seems to me it’s a win-win solution for everyone.”