Grayslake Elementary District 46 is ready to begin installing solar panels at four school buildings.
The district will mount the panels on the roofs of Grayslake Middle School and Park School Campus in Round Lake, and install solar panels on the grounds of Prairieview School in Hainesville and Fredrick School in Grayslake.
The $7.3 million project began Thursday at Fredrick School with a lawn mower when workers began landscaping the future site of the solar panels, Superintendent Ellen Correll said. The solar panels will be installed this summer and should be ready by the start of next school year.
"We're excited about the project," Correll said. "It will be great to depend on the sun rather than other things for energy."
She said she's also excited about the classroom opportunities the solar panels will provide.
"The students will be able to track the days when we get the most energy," Correll said. "There are so many educational possibilities."
District 46 also anticipates saving money on energy costs in the long run.
Correll said district officials are meeting with the bank Monday to finish working out a loan for a portion of the project cost. She said the rest will be covered by the capital fund.
There are seven schools in District 46. When planning where to install the first solar panels, district officials considered the age of building roofs, Correll said.
"You don't want to put solar panels on a roof older than 10 to 15 years," she explained. "Then you have to take them down to upgrade the roofs."
The district will consider adding solar panels to the other buildings after new roofs are installed, she said.