MAYFIELD-The Mayfield Board of Education spoke with a representative from Monolith Solar Associates on Tuesday, discussing the potential for solar panels at Mayfield's schools.
Superintendent Paul Williamsen said district officials had previously discussed solar panels rated at 50 kilowatts per site. However, changes in regulations from the New York State Public Service Commission would allow up to 200 kilowatts per site.
"All of a sudden, our savings might be going from $40,000 to $80,000 plus," Williamsen said.
Tim Carr, strategic account manager with Monolith, said the increased proposed size could allow the district to have 400 kilowatts of solar power provided for the elementary and high school.
"As of the moment, we are suggesting 400 kilowatts," he said.
He said the commission has approved the changes, and they would be made official in mid-August.
"I have sent Mr. Williamsen updated contracts reflecting this change," Carr said. "Between the elementary and high school we can save the district somewhere in the order of $180,000 in electric bill offset."
Carr said the project could take six to eight weeks to get approval from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
"It would probably be, realistically, a September or October installation date," Carr said.
Carr said Monolith would pay for the construction and installation of the panels itself.
"There is no cost to the district to do this whatsoever," Carr said.
Mayfield would simply buy power from Monolith at a reduced rate, compared to current costs. Carr said solar power could cost 25 percent less than what it is paying now. The contract would last for a total of 20 years, Carr said.
Carr also said Monolith was working on curriculum development to get students to see how the panels work and have seminars with the students. Carr said Internet monitoring would allow students to see the environmental effects of the panels.
"We really want to work with the school to utilize solar, really not only as a mechanism for saving the school district money, but as a laboratory for your students," Carr said.
Williamsen said the board could discuss the project further and possibly vote on it at its Aug. 20 meeting.
Arthur Cleveland can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.