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Kinnelon BOE Authorizes Solar Project

Kinnelon school district to participate in Morris County Renewable Energy program.

The approved a resolution Thursday that authorizes their intent to participate in the 2011 Morris County Improvement Authorities Renewable Energy Program.

According to Board Member Keith Dama, Kinnelon will be one of nine school districts participating in this project. In his presentation to the board, Dama said that the project will help reduce public utility energy consumption by 20 percent at   and .

The total project will encompass 8 megawatts of electrical power, with Kinnelon generating 375 kilowatts of energy.

To fund the entire project, Dama said, “Morris County will obtain a $60 million bond using their AAA rating."

"The project cost will be offset by state and federal incentives and renewable solar certificates," he added.

Kinnelon will participate by signing a lease with Morris County to authorize the use of the school roofs to generate solar power. Dama indicated that the roofs where panels are to be placed will last almost twice as long as the solar panels. “The solar equipment has a projected life of 15 to 20 years," he said. According to Dama, the roofs have a projected life of 40 years.

In addition to solar equipment being installed upon school roofs, a kiosk will be provided at one location to show the real-time energy being produced by the solar panels and a web portal will provide access to the public to see similar information.

Superintendent James Opiekun indicated the educational opportunity such a project offers, as well as the cost saving and environmental benefits.

“There’s going to be a whole science lesson that will be part of this experience,” he said.

“We can show our students how much energy is being generated, we can begin to look at where the sun is and how weather affects things.” 

Board Vice President Margaret Zybrick had some concerns about the project's impact on students. “What will the noise level be? Will there be kids in school at that time?” she asked.

Opiekun assured Zybrick, “We will have control over staging, working very closely with the contractor, as we’ve done on our other construction projects to make sure it has minimal disruptions.”

Board Member Steven Fink said, “As I see this, there’s no outlay. We don’t have to pay a penny.”

Dama responded positively, "It’s zero cost, zero capital dollars, zero  investment and when the project starts generating electricity, a portion of our energy will come from our own solar panels and that will cost us much less than using a public utility.”

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