Solar panels at Hainesville school to be hooked up Saturday morning

 
 
Updated 9/6/2018 5:50 PM
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  • PAUL VALADE/pvalade@dailyherald.com, 2009The solar panels on the grounds of Prairieview School in Hainesville will be hooked up Saturday morning.

    PAUL VALADE/pvalade@dailyherald.com, 2009The solar panels on the grounds of Prairieview School in Hainesville will be hooked up Saturday morning.

The newly installed solar panels on the grounds of Prairieview School in Hainesville are set to be connected to the school and the power grid Saturday morning, signaling the start of the solar era for Grayslake Elementary District 46.

John Herrin, the district's chief school business official, said at around 6 a.m. Saturday the power at Prairieview will be turned off and electricians will hook the wires together.

"We'll fire it back up and see what we've got," Herrin said during a school board meeting Wednesday. "It's kind of an exciting moment."

He said ComEd will be on hand to make sure the company's meters can track how much energy the solar panels generate.

If all goes well, the panels will transmit energy collected from sunlight to the power grid, which Herrin said will result in lower electricity bills. The panels won't provide enough energy to power the schools on their own.

"We'll never be putting more back into ComEd's grid than we'd be using at any given point," Herrin said.

The panels at Prairieview are part of a $7.3 million project that will see solar power implemented at four schools. So far the panels have been installed on the grounds of Prairie View as well as at Fredrick School in Grayslake.

Work has begun to install solar panels to the roof at Park School Campus in Round Lake, Herrin said, but efforts to mount panels to the roof of Grayslake Middle School are still a ways off.

"We've started preliminary work, testing the roof, that kind of thing," Herrin said of the middle school. "Construction there won't start until later in the fall."

Herrin said the district is looking forward to spending less on electricity so it can spend more in the classrooms.

"These are very exciting times for the district," Herrin said.

Apart from the long-term energy cost savings, Superintendent Ellen Correll has said the district is excited about the educational possibilities the solar panels will provide for students. She said the students will be able to do projects such as tracking the days when the solar panels get the most energy.

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