Grayslake's high schools want to tap into solar power
Solar panels proposed for Grayslake's two high schools are expected to reduce energy expenses and potentially become a revenue source, officials say.
After a giving a presentation on the $5.9 million project, Grayslake High School District 127 officials received a thumbs-up from the village's advisory plan commission/zoning board of appeals Monday evening. The panel's positive recommendation for the proposal will go to the Grayslake village board for consideration Tuesday, June 21.
"We're very excited about this project," District 127 Superintendent Catherine Finger said Tuesday.
If the Grayslake village board approves the plan, construction at the high schools would begin this summer. The solar energy panels are expected to be ready for use before the start of classes in mid-August.
Performance Services, which has a Schaumburg office, would install 1,920 solar panels on most of Grayslake Central's roof. Plans call for 2,245 solar panels on nearly all of Grayslake North's roof.
The installation of 4,590 ground solar panels at Grayslake North would begin in November on a vacant 2½ acres at the school, according to Monday night's presentation.
Annual utility savings over 25 years are projected to be $6.6 million at Grayslake North and $2 million at Grayslake Central through having the sun partially power the buildings, documents show.
In addition, solar renewable energy credits are expected to become an income source for District 127 as part of the tentative deal with Performance Services. Projections show the district could gain a maximum of about $8.5 million over 25 years by selling excess solar credits to utility companies that need them to meet certain energy-use requirements.
"Essentially, the district is buying the option to sell excessive energy credits we don't use back to energy companies," Finger said. "It's big bucks. We can make a lot of money over time, and that's what made it super attractive to us."
In 2014, Libertyville Elementary District 70 officials cited a desire to take a slice out of electric bills by having solar panels installed at the largest two of five schools. District 70 officials said the $3.2 million system placed on the roofs at Butterfield School and Highland Middle School was expected to result in a minimum of $3,000 to $5,000 in monthly savings on electric bills.
"The panels have been a wonderful cost savings benefit, as well as teaching and learning tools," Superintendent Guy Schumacher said. "To date, the panels have offered a more promising return rate than initially anticipated."
Solar panel construction is set for this summer at Lake Park High School District 108's two campuses in Roselle. District 108 officials cited expected cost savings by tapping into solar power.